Ilhan Tanir
Dec 04 2017

Who did Zarrab bribe to get out of jail?

On the fourth day of statements by Iranian-Turkish gold dealer Reza Zarrab, and the fifth day of proceedings in the trial of Turkish banking executive Mehmet Hakan Atilla over aiding Zarrab in bypassing U.S. sanctions on Iran, the events of the Dec. 17, 2013 Turkish version of the corruption trial were revisited in the New York courtroom.

During the hearing, Zarrab continued testifying about the Iranian money transfers he had carried out with the help of Halkbank Deputy General Manager Atilla.

The prosecutor went over some intercepted official documents between Zarrab and Halkbank relating to the alleged illegal money transfers from Iran, then asked about the Dec. 17 indictments in Turkey for the first time during these hearings.

After Zarrab testified that he had been arrested by the ‘financial guards', the prosecutor asked him whether he meant 'Turkish law enforcement officers' and asked Mr. Zarrab how he had managed to get out of prison later on.

Zarrab, at first claimed that he was released through the efforts of his lawyers, though later he admitted to bribing officials to be released.

Zarrab, in saying that he had 'partly' paid bribes to be released, is admitting to this crime for the first time.

After being released from detention in Turkey, he had publicly denied the Turkish prosecutor's office’s claim that he had bribed officials to be released from prison.

Zarrab later testified that he had continued working with Halkbank following his release.

In his deposition, Zarrab said that he met with Ali Fuat Taşkesenlioğlu, who had replaced Süleyman Aslan as Director-General at Halkbank, to negotiate the continuation of the Iranian trade.

Zarrab said that the purpose of this meeting was to resume the "old system" and that the new president Taşkınoğlu had asked him to hold a meeting with the international operations staff of the bank.

Zarrab told the court that the bank officials asked for further and more detailed documents such as an accreditation letter during this meeting, and noted that he had had one other meeting with Taşkınoğlu.

Hence, Aslan's replacement Taşkesenlioğlu's connection to Zarrab was established just before the lunch break.

We will see in the afternoon session whether the prosecutor, who had asked Zarrab specifically about the bribes he paid to Zafer Çağlayan and Süleyman Aslan, will inquire into the details of the bribe Zarrab paid for his release.