Nov 30 2017

Zarrab case is ‘theatre’ targeting Turkey, deputy PM says

The trial in New York of a senior executive of Turkey's state-controlled Halkbank for allegedly helping Iran evade sanctions is “theatre,” Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said.

The case was being run in partnership with the Fethullah Gülen movement and targeted Turkey, Bozdağ said in an interview with the state-run Anatolia news agency. broadcast on social media.

Reza Zarrab, an Iranian-Turkish gold trader, implicated three Turkish banks and the country’s former economy minister in a sanctions-busting scheme with Iran, in his first day of testimony in the trial in New York yesterday. Zarrab, who ran the scheme, has turned state’s witness against the only defendant, Mehmet Hakan Atilla, deputy chief executive of state-run Halkbank.

Claims this week by opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu that relatives of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had shifted millions of dollars to an offshore account in the Isle of Man were part of the same attack on the country, Bozdag said.

In his testimony to jurors, Zarrab also said that Aktifbank, a lender owned by Ahmet Çalık, a close business ally of Erdoğan, and the Russian-owned Denizbank, were part of the sanctions-busting scheme.