Turkish Banker Sentenced to Prison for Helping Iran Evade U.S. Sanctions


In this courtroom sketch Mehmet Hakan Atilla, second from left, listens to the judge during his sentencing, flanked by his attorneys Cathy Fleming, left, and Victor Rocco as Atilla’s wife, upper right, listens to the proceedings Wednesday, May 16, 2018, in New York. U.S. District Judge Richard Berman imposed a sentence of 32 months in prison on the Turkish banker convicted of helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

OAN Newsroom Thurs. May 17, 2018 One America News Network

Source Link: Turkish Banker Sentenced to Prison for Helping Iran Evade U.S. Sanctions

{Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time. – LS}

A Turkish banker is sentenced to 32-months in prison for helping to execute one of the largest sanction evasion cases ever prosecuted in the U.S.

A New York-based federal court announced the decision against Mehmet Hakan Atilla on Wednesday, just months after he was convicted of bank fraud and conspiracy in January.

A judge is granting Atilla time served for the 14-months he already spent behind bars following his arrest in 2017 during a trip to the U.S. This means the 47-year-old could return to Turkey in little more than a year.

The sentence comes as a disappointment to prosecutors, who recommended Atilla serve at least 20-years for jeopardizing U.S. national security.

They say he abused his top position at a state-owned Turkish bank a decade ago to help Iran circumvent U.S. sanctions and access frozen assets.

The move helped to pour billions of dollars of Iranian oil profits into the world market, creating a slush fund for the country to use.

Eight other Turkish and Iranian defendants were indicted along with Atilla for their alleged roles in the evasion.

One of the men — prominent gold trader Reza Zarrab — shocked the world by pleading guilty and helping the U.S. to unravel the scheme.

The judge ruled Atilla was more of a minor player in the overall plan, and not the mastermind prosecutors tried to paint him out to be.

The decision came in part after more than 100 letters from Atilla’s friends, family and colleagues were read by the courts attesting to his character as a family man.

Turkish President Tayyib Erdogan has weighed in on the case, blasting it as a slight towards the whole country.

The legal proceedings have caused further division between the U.S. and its NATO ally Turkey. Lawyers for Atilla say he plans to appeal the ruling.

Explore posts in the same categories: Iran - sanctions, Iran - sanctions enforcement

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