Dec 14 2017

Judge rejects mistrial verdict for ex-Halkbank executive

Judge Richard Berman has rejected a motion of mistrial from the defence team of Mehmet Hakan Atilla, a former executive at Halkbank, "without prejudice," meaning the defence can submit it again, Adam Klasfeld from Courthouse News reported. The trial will continue and the judge may later hear a full briefing by the government and the defence on this matter.

In the motion, pro-government newspaper Daily Sabah reported, Atilla’s lawyers said the prosecutors provided “inadmissible, confusing and overly prejudicial evidence” and that none of the evidence showed Atilla had either paid or received a bribe. “He was not involved in many of the activities investigated or described in Court,” they said.

The defence slammed government’s witness former police investigator Hüseyin Korkmaz, Daily Sabah wrote, accusing him of providing speculation and “hearsay documents.”

Korkmaz has testified that he never saw evidence that Atilla had taken bribes.

Reza Zarrab, a gold trader and former co-defendant of Atilla before pleading guilty and turning a witness, testified against Atilla, Daily Sabah wrote, saying he used fictitious food and gold exports to launder Iran’s money to evade U.S. sanctions, with the help of Atilla and others.

“The defendant has been prejudiced to such a degree that the fundamental fairness of the trial has been irreparably undermined,” Atilla’s lawyers was quoted by Daily Sabah as saying. The mistrial is “the only appropriate remedy.”