Turkey wrong to say Zarrab trial political: ex-prosecutor

The United States has every right to try executives of Turkey’s state-run Halkbank for breaking sanctions on Iran, a former U.S. prosecutor told Habertürk newspaper.

The Turkish government is wrong to depict the trial as political because many banks have been fined for illegally using the U.S. banking system for sanctions-busting in the past, Danial Richman told Habertürk in an interview. If cash had been sent to Iran by truck then prosecutors in the United States would not have opened a case on such charges, he said.

Prosecutors may implicate other officials in the case, including politicians in Turkey, and new trials may be started, Richman said. They would need to apply to the State Department and the Treasury before proceeding, he said.

Iranian-Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab, a suspect in the case, may have turned state’s witness and could enter the U.S. witness protection programme should his life be in danger, Richman said. Zarrab may also be considering entering a guilty plea, he said.