U.S. judge rejects appeal by Turkish banker

A judge in New York rejected a call by defence lawyers to overturn a verdict convicting Turkish banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla of conspiring to evade sanctions on Iran, Reuters reported.

Judge Richard Berman said in a written decision that he reviewed the trial record and concluded that the evidence was clearly sufficient for the jury to convict Atilla, the news wire said.

Atilla, the deputy CEO of Turkey’s state-run Halkbank, was convicted of conspiracy and bank fraud in the Manhattan courtroom in early January. He awaits sentencing on April 11.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has labelled the trial as political and an attempt to undermine his government. Star witness Reza Zarrab had implicated Atilla’s boss, several former ministers and Erdoğan himself in the conspiracy. Atilla pleaded not guilty in the case that shook relations between Washington and Ankara.

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