Atilla sentenced to 32 months in U.S. prison over evading Iran sanctions

17 May, 2018, 04:10 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Mehmet Hakan Atilla

Prosecutors have said that beginning around 2012, Atilla was involved in a scheme to help Iran spend oil and gas revenues overseas using fraudulent gold and food transactions through Halkbank, violating USA sanctions.

Atilla was found guilty on January 3 of conspiring to violate United States sanctions law.

Sarraf, who was arrested in the U.S.in 2016 and accused of violating USA sanctions on Iran, pleaded guilty in the case last October and cooperated with prosecutors.

Atilla's conviction hinged on the testimony of Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab, who was arrested by USA authorities in 2016 after jetting to Florida with his pop-star wife and child on a family holiday to Disney World.

In addition to implicating Atilla, Zarrab described a vast bribery and corruption scheme that involved millions in payments to government ministers and banking executives, all done with the blessing of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. As a result of this scheme, he and his co-conspirators caused US banks to unknowingly process transactions on behalf of the Iranian government, the Justice Department said.

According to prosecutors, the central figure in the scheme was wealthy Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab, who pleaded guilty to fraud, conspiracy and money laundering charges, and testified for several days as the USA government's star witness against Atilla.

Atilla appeared to be a marginal figure in the case.

But Judge Berman indicated that Mr. Atilla's role did not warrant the longer sentence the government was seeking. Atilla, by contrast, wasn't named as a defendant until nearly a year after the indictment was unsealed.

Battlefield V Reveal Event to Take Place Next Week
The current loot box controversy spurred by Star Wars: Battlefront 2 now hangs over the head of both Electronic Arts and DICE. PDT, viewers can tune in through the official Battlefield YouTube channel , Twitch , Mixer .com and the official website .

The wealthy Zarrab, arrested a year before Atilla, initially attracted considerable attention to the case.

Though nine people were charged, including Aslan and Turkey's former economic minister, Mehmet Zafer Caglayan, the others managed to evade USA custody and haven't faced trial. Zarrab pleaded guilty to fraud, conspiracy and money laundering charges and testified against Atilla on behalf of the US government. Evidence presented during the monthlong trial included wiretapped telephone conversations in which he gave instructions on how to fabricate documents to cover up the plot, and testimony that he was present in meetings where the plans were hatched.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, Atilla faced life in prison because of the amount involved in the scheme.

Berman said the lengthier prison terms recommended would be "inappropriate, unreasonable and unfair". He was acquitted on one count of money laundering. He noted that the evasion strengthened Iran's hand during negotiations over the agreement to contain Iran's nuclear program.

"This is the biggest sanction evasion prosecution in the United States that we're aware of", said Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Lockard.

The prosecutors had called for a 20-year sentence, but U.S. District Judge Richard Berman said the scheme was most likely engineered by people far more powerful than Atilla.

Cathy Fleming, another of Atilla's lawyers, read a brief statement by her client, translated from Turkish, asking for Berman's "understanding of the situation that I and my family are in".

Recommended:



Popular

Coinbase Catalyzes Institutional Adoption With New Product Suite
Chicago office will support Coinbase Markets team and help the company in delivering services for the cryptocurrency exchange . Coinbase claims that more than 100 hedge funds announced plans to trade/invest in cryptocurrency in the last few months alone.

West Ham, David Moyes part ways
Who will replace David Moyes at West Ham? Meanwhile, the team ended the season on thirteenth position. Everton finished the season in eighth place on Sunday.

Deadpool 2 Review: Finally, a Superhero Who Doesn't Save the Universe
Well, believe them! The movie also doesn't shy away from the gore, justifying the R-rating to fullest. On balance, though, Deadpool 2 is a seriously amusing comedy and a genuinely good time at the movies.

Milwaukee Bucks Hire Mike Budenholzer As Coach
Rightly or wrongly, Eric Bledsoe's first season with the Milwaukee Bucks is going to be remembered for the weird way it finished. Budenholzer was also a candidate for jobs with the Toronto Raptors , Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks .

Lachlan Murdoch Succeeds Brother at Fox
He denounced President Donald Trump's reaction to the race-related violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last August. Sky chairman James, 45, will not be involved in running a much smaller US-only company focused on news and sport.

Body clock disruptions linked to mood disorders
Daily circadian rhythm is controlled by a collection of neurons in an area of the brain called the hypothalamus. The findings are consistent with research indicating a link between sleep disruptions and mood disorders.

Senate Committee Expected to Approve Haspel to Lead CIA
McCain, who has been away from Washington all year as he battles brain cancer, urged the Senate not to vote for Haspel. Haspel, the CIA's acting director, earned support from the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, Sen.

Stan Lee files $1B lawsuit against POW! Entertainment for 'stealing' his name
Camsing International acquired POW! in 2017 for an undisclosed price and placed its USA vice president Shane Duffy as POW!'s CEO. Stan Lee has filed a major lawsuit against his former company over allegations that it stole his likeness for financial gain.

Pokemon Lets Go Pikachu and Eevee Official Domains Are Registered
E3 2018 will take place from June 12 to June 14 and will hopefully shed some light on the future of Pokemon . According to Hypebeast , rumors online are pointing to the game being called Pokémon: Let's Go .

`With Friends Like That:' EU's Tusk Blasts Trump's Europe Stance
This move sparked discontent among the key USA trading partners, especially the EU. Tusk's tweet, however, was one of the more notable, public denunciations of Mr.