Erdogan Says US Trying To 'Blackmail' Turkey With Iran Sanctions Case

Turkey detains 17 in graft case as Erdogan denounces US plot

New Development in Iran's $1bn Money Laundering and Sanctions Evasion Scheme

Reza Zarrab, the Turkish gold trader who has become a star federal witness detailing a massive Iran sanctions-busting scheme he devised, testified in Manhattan federal court Tuesday he made $100 million to $150 million from the plot as Turkey's president stepped up criticism of the US trial.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke Tuesday in Ankara, Turkey. The Iran sanctions "case has nothing to do with law, justice, or trade, it's an acrobatic spectacle", he said.

The US government's star witness in a huge court case related to the breaching of sanctions against the Iranian Regime has admitted that he paid bribes in order to get released from a Turkish jail after his 2013 arrest as part of another sanctions evasion plot by the Iranian Regime.

Zarrab, 34, was arrested by United States authorities in March 2016 on suspicion of taking part in the alleged sanctions-busting scam but is now cooperating with the authorities in an apparent plea bargain.

Turkish authorities have detained 17 people linked to Zarrab in an investigation launched after he cooperated with USA authorities and agreed to testify in the case.

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USA prosecutors say claims the trial resulted from political maneuvering are "ridiculous".

The case risks further straining relations between Erdogan and US President Donald Trump already damaged by rows over the Syria conflict and US prosecution of Turkish presidential bodyguards.

A trial playing out in NY is being watched carefully in Turkey.

His comments in Ankara on December 5 came as the trial of Halkbank executive Mehmet Hakan Atilla continued with a fifth day of testimony by the USA government's star witness and alleged mastermind of the scheme to evade sanctions. Seven other Turks, including Erdogan's former economy minister, have been charged.

Zarrab estimated that he made from $100 million to $150 million between 2010 and 2016 by carrying out various illegal schemes, including helping Iran evade USA sanctions.

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