Dec 13 2017

Police witness in Zarrab case: I took $50,000 from the FBI

A former senior Turkish police officer testifying as a witness in a high-profile U.S. sanctions violations trial has admitted receiving $50,000 in financial help as well as housing support from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Courthouse News said.

Hüseyin Korkmaz, the former deputy head of the Istanbul Police Financial Crime Department, is testifying in the case, which has become associated in the public eye with witness Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian gold trader who is thought to have been central to the scheme. Zarrab pleaded guilty to the charges and is now a state’s witness.

Korkmaz, who had led an investigation into corruption allegations against top Turkish government officials leading to a string of arrests from on Dec. 17, 2013, told the court that he had not asked for the money, but had not turned it down either, since he was now unemployed.

He told the court on Tuesday that a separate investigation into high-level corruption allegations had been opened by Turkish police on Dec. 25, 2013, and that this investigation had stretched as far as then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, his son Bilal Erdoğan, and current Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım.

That may well be a reference to the thwarted investigation into now-President Erdoğan and Yıldırım’s alleged involvement in takeovers in the Turkish media sector.

Korkmaz faces prosecution in Turkey over his alleged links with the Fethullah Gülen movement, the followers of a U.S.-based exile preacher, who are accused by Turkey of carrying out last year’s failed coup attempt.