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Erdogan: New York Trial US Conspiracy Against Turkey
06 December 2017, 06:33 | Erica Roy
Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab has been arrested in Florida last year by US authorities. (
Erdogan has rubbished the accusations and on Tuesday said that the case was a "plot" aimed at hurting Turkey.
Zarrab also admitted he spent more than a year in federal jails hoping to win release through a prisoner exchange with Turkey before deciding to cooperate, but denied that anger at Turkish officials for not doing enough to make it happen fueled his testimony about bribes to President Recep Erdogan's government.
Zarrab, 34, was arrested by USA authorities in March 2016 on suspicion of taking part in the alleged sanctions-busting scam but is now cooperating with the authorities in an apparent plea bargain. It is believed that Turkey will seize Zarrab's assets.
Turkish authorities have detained 17 people linked to Zarrab in an investigation launched after he cooperated with USA authorities and agreed to testify in the case. He said that Atilla had continued to participate in the Iranian Regime's sanctions evasion scheme long after the Turkish investigation was dropped. Erdogan claimed that his political opponents were behind both the current United States case and the 2013 Turkish case and recently called on the U.S. to drop the case.
But the case has also become a hot political issue inside Turkey, with the leader of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu seizing on it to back up his claims of corruption at the heart of the Turkish elite.
"Turkey has no plans against the United States, but it is clear that the USA has plans against us", Erdogan said. "And what did you do?"
His comments in Ankara on December 5 came as the trial of Halkbank executive Mehmet Hakan Atilla continued with a fifth day of testimony by the US government's star witness and alleged mastermind of the scheme to evade sanctions. The leading mullahs in the Regime are the ones who instructed and authorised this major money laundering scheme; it is not something that two individuals would think to complete on their own, given the incredible risks involved.
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