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Criminal Trial Continued For Turkey Businessman Accussed of Violating US Sanctions Against Iran

Turkish Gold trader, Reza Zarrab, was criminally charged for allegedly handling money on behalf of the Iran government as well as entities from Iran. His alleged actions were in violation of the sanctions enacted by the United Stated against Iran.

The white collar criminal trial was supposed to begin yesterday, but after a two hour closed door hearing, it was continued until next week. Mr. Zarab didn’t even appear, which likely means he has reached a plea agreement with the federal prosecuting attorneys.

However, it does appear that Mehmet Hakan Atilla, a second defendant in the case, will have a trial, but as the sole defendant. Both him and his lawyers were present yesterday. Mr. Atilla is an employee of a Turkey bank that is state-owned.

The charges and action by the Turkish entities have obviously not helped the relationship between the U.S. and Turkey. The U.S. Federal attorneys are pursuing what they see are clear violations and attempts to evade the sanctions. But the Turkey has called stated that the charges lack any legal basis and is a “clear plot against Turkey.” Turkey has started their own independent investigation in the U.S. attorneys.

Turkey has compared this case to a similar case against the same Defendant that was dropped 4 years ago in Turkey. That case was dropped after new investigators and prosecutors were assigned to the case. Of course, new people may have been specifically assigned and specifically instructed to drop the case as it did involve several high level connected people. Hopefully, the U.S. case will sort it out correctly and justice will be served.