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.

Colyer and six other governors back Trump for Nobel Peace Prize
The letter was signed by the governors of South Carolina , Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi, Guam, Maine, and West Virginia.

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:

  • Smith wins primary in Nebraska's 3rd District

    Smith wins primary in Nebraska's 3rd District

    Ricketts defeated Krystal Gabel of Omaha, a technical writer who advocates for medical marijuana and industrial hemp. Nebraska voters started heading to the polls at 8am this morning to cast ballots in the state's primary election.
    Lachlan Murdoch Succeeds Brother at Fox

    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.
    Marchessault lifts Golden Knight over Jets in playoffs

    Marchessault lifts Golden Knight over Jets in playoffs

    Game 2 was a different story, as Vegas clamped down on defense and Marc-Andre Fleury turned away Winnipeg's first 26 shots. The Jets and Golden Knights were tied 1-1 heading into Wednesday's Game 3, while the Caps were up 2-1 on the Lightning.
  • SCOTUS Feigns Federalism in Sports Betting Decision

    SCOTUS Feigns Federalism in Sports Betting Decision

    All four major US professional sports leagues, the NCAA and the federal government had urged the court to uphold the federal law. The ruling also left open the possibility of Congress banning sports gambling nationwide, it just can't require states to do it.
    Karnataka results show what will happen in 2019 polls: Danve

    Karnataka results show what will happen in 2019 polls: Danve

    Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray too challenged the BJP to go into an election with the ballot system. According to the Election Commission, BJP has now won 17 seats and is leading in 89.
    Las Vegas Beats Winnipeg to Even Conference Final

    Las Vegas Beats Winnipeg to Even Conference Final

    Vegas now returns home where it's lost just 10 games since December 14 and is 9-2 in its last 11 home games when a favorite. The Jets are 8-1 in these playoffs when they score first and are now 1-4 when they don't.
  • Senate Committee Expected to Approve Haspel to Lead CIA

    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.
    The Apple drops for Samsung

    The Apple drops for Samsung

    Apple lawyer Bill Lee told jurors this week that their sole objective was to determine what damages the company should collect. It infringed three design patents and two utility patents awarded to Apple to cover early models of its popular smartphone.
    Guatemala Opens Embassy in Jerusalem

    Guatemala Opens Embassy in Jerusalem

    President Jimmy Morales arrived in Israel on Tuesday to open his country's embassy in Jerusalem . Trump ignored widespread anger and condemnation and pushed ahead with embassy relocation plans.
  • Body clock disruptions linked to mood disorders

    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.
    Michigan State University reach $724 million settlement with Nassar victims

    Michigan State University reach $724 million settlement with Nassar victims

    The five hundred million dollar settlement is the largest payout for a sexual misconduct suit involving a university. His sentencing in state court this year drew worldwide attention as hundreds of his victims described their abuse.
    Why Emilia Clarke Hates Being Asked About Playing a 'Strong Woman'

    Why Emilia Clarke Hates Being Asked About Playing a 'Strong Woman'

    You would never refer to a male lead as being as "strong male character" as opposed to any other kind of male character. Emilia told the host that the movement hadn't died down, but that "changing it overnight would be impossible".


Popular

Google's Intelligent 'Google News' App Is Now Available on iPhone and iPad
Unlike Apple News, Google News pulls in tweets about stories, which are often a good way to learn about news as it breaks. Google News is a attractive app and does a great job of intertwining videos, articles, and tweets into one central hub.

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.

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 .

Planned Parenthood and ACLU announce suit against Iowa abortion law
The group says that Iowa's legislature ignored the legal rights guaranteed in the Supreme Court's Roe v. The battle over this law could eventually make its way to the high court as well.

Ga. Senator, Gov. candidate says he's starting 'Deportation Bus' tour for 'illegals'
According to a Huffington Post article, Williams was the co-chair for President Trump's presidential campaign . Georgia's lieutenant governor, Casey Cagle, is expected to win the Republican primary.

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.

BROWARD COWARD: Officer Who HID During Shooting Gets $8K/Month Pension
On Feb. 14, surveillance video showed Peterson waiting outside the school as Cruz prowled the halls. The former deputy received his first monthly check of $8,702.35 in April, she said.

Frances Bean Cobain divorce settled; ex-husband gets to keep Unplugged guitar
Frances , for her part, gets to keep the house she and Silva bought together and will not have to pay Silva spousal support. After five years of dating, Frances married Silva back 2014 in a secret summer wedding attended by close friends.

`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.

U.S. senators: 'No doubt' Russian Federation sought to interfere in USA election
Below is the relevant portion from the 224-page transcript, with Trump Jr.'s answers preceded by "A". But he later acknowledged that the president may have edited it through his close aide Hope Hicks.