Turkey: US trial of Turkish banker 'legal disgrace'

Turkey: US trial of Turkish banker 'legal disgrace'
Thu Jan 4, 2018 13:59:06

Turkey has slammed the conviction in New York of a Turkish banker accused of helping Iran evade sanctions as a "legal disgrace" and a conspiracy against Turkey.

(AP) -- A day after Mehmet Hakan Atilla, a 47-year-old deputy general manager of state-run Halkbank was found guilty of five counts, including bank fraud, Turkey's deputy prime minister, Bekir Bozdag, took to Twitter Thursday to describe the trial a "political conspiracy" that was of "no legal value to Turkey."

The trial of Atilla, which included testimony suggesting high-level corruption in Turkey, has strained ties between NATO allies Turkey and the United States.

"Turkey is a full sovereign and fully independent country," Bozdag said. "Another country cannot put Turkey's institutions on trial."

Among the charges that stuck, Atilla was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the United States. However, he was acquitted of a money laundering charge.

Turkey's foreign ministry also accused U.S. government officials of helping people linked to U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen make false claims and provide false evidence - a reference to reports that a former Turkish deputy police chief told the jury during his testimony in New York that the FBI paid him $50,000 and U.S. prosecutors covered his rent.

(Photo: tlascorps)

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