Jan 03 2018

Judge rules out mistrial in Atilla case

A U.S. federal judge rejected an appeal for a mistrial in the New York trial of a Turkish banker accused of helping Iran bypass sanctions, a case that has increased tensions between the United States and Turkey after a state witness accused Turkish ministers and officials of being embroiled in the illicit scheme to break the embargo.

The appeal by lawyers for former deputy general manager of Turkish state-owned Halkbank Mehmet Hakan Atilla came a day before the jury reconvenes on Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Richard Berman ruled there was no justification for a mistrial as Atilla had "received a thoroughly fair and transparent trial”, left-wing Turkish newspaper Evrensel said.

Atilla’s lawyers said a question from the prosecution referring to documents outside the scope of evidence had prejudiced the trial, but Berman ordered the question wiped from the record.

Atilla is charged with six different crimes; cheating the U.S. Treasury, conspiring to undermine the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), banking system fraud, conspiring to commit bank fraud, money laundering and acting as an accomplice to money laundering.

 

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