posted by Christopher W. Holton
U.S. prosecutors on Tuesday charged an executive at a Turkish state-owned bank with participating in a multi-year scheme to violate U.S. sanctions against Iran, escalating a case that has added to tensions between the United States and Turkey.
Mehmet Hakan Atilla, a deputy general manager of Halkbank, is accused of conspiring with wealthy Turkish gold trader Reza Zarrab to conduct hundreds of millions of dollars of illegal transactions through U.S. banks on behalf of Iran’s government and other entities in that country.
The charges expand a case that has drawn criticism from Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who has said he believed U.S. authorities had “ulterior motives” in prosecuting Zarrab.
Atilla was arrested on the same day it was revealed that Zarrab, the gold trader, had added former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, a confidante of President Donald Trump, to his legal team.