Reza Zarrab - the key witness in a NY trial over alleged skirting of United States economic sanctions against Iran - has been accused of sexually assaulting a cellmate, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday.
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.
Zarrab last month accepted all the USA charges against him, including the violation of now-lifted US sanctions against Iran, money laundering and other charges and agreed to cooperate as a witness against Mehmet Hakan Atilla, the former deputy CEO of Turkey's state-run lender Halkbank.
Mr. Schacht, asked why he had filed the suit the week Mr. Zarrab was testifying in the sanctions case, said the timing was coincidental and largely a factor of his being retained recently to represent the inmate and of conducting his own investigation.
Zarrab has confessed to bribing U.S. prison guards in exchange for booze and cell phones.
Atilla's attorney Cathy Fleming said that Zarrab's still-unidentified, would-be assailant denies the incident occurred.
The U.S. Bureau of Prisons confirmed receipt of a request for information about the alleged incident, but the agency offered no new details by press time. He has pleaded not guilty.
He testified that he paid bribes to Turkish banking and government officials, including over $50 million in bribes to Turkey's former finance minister Zafer Caglayan in 2012 for his help in laundering a billion dollars in Iranian money.
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Halkbank said last week that it had not taken part in any illegal transactions.
Zarrab said that "BB" was code for "the prime minister", and the general manager was Ali Fuat, who was then in charge of Halkbank.
Prosecutors have charged nine people in the case with conspiring to help Iran evade sanctions, but only Zarrab, 34, and Atilla, 47, have been arrested by US authorities.
Zarrab said he paid bribes to Aslan, repeating his testimony in direct examination, but never to Atilla.
"I'm here now", the 34-year-old told Assistant U.S. Attorney Sidhardha Kamaraju.
Zarrab testified on Tuesday that in return for his guilty plea prosecutors said he would not be charged with lying to law enforcement officers after his arrest and smoking synthetic marijuana in jail.
Media reported on Dec 6 that Turkish police has detained at least 17 people including Zarrab's three employees who allegedly sent documents to the USA for the businessman's case in NY. Erdogan on Sunday dismissed the case as a politically motivated attack on Turkey.
"Turkey has no plans against the United States, but it is clear that the USA has plans against us", Erdogan said.