The Latest: Turkish banker's lawyer promises an appeal
Jan. 03, 2018
NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on the trial of a Turkish banker (all times local):
A prosecutor calls the conviction of a Turkish banker in a conspiracy to help Iran evade U.S. sanctions a warning to foreign banks not to cheat on sanctions. A defense lawyer says Mehmet Hakan Atilla will appeal.
The comments came after a New York jury returned a guilty verdict Wednesday on five of six counts against Atilla at a federal trial that lasted more than a month. Sentencing was scheduled for April 11.
The conviction came on the fourth day of deliberations at a trial that lasted more than a month, including a weeklong break for the holidays. Jurors declined to comment afterward.
The case was closely watched in Turkey, where top government officials complained that Atilla, an executive at a state-owned bank, was unjustly prosecuted.
A Turkish banker accused of helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions has been convicted by a jury in New York after a trial that sowed distrust between the two nations.
The verdict came Wednesday at a trial where witnesses described corruption at the highest levels of Turkey's government, prompting its leaders to lash out at the U.S. prosecution.
The verdict pertained solely to Halkbank executive Mehmet Hakan Atilla, but its ramifications were likely to affect relations between Turkey and the U.S.
Atilla was convicted of five counts, including conspiracy. He was acquitted of one money-laundering charge.
Throughout the monthlong trial, Turkish officials spoke out against the prosecution. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called it a U.S. conspiracy to "blackmail" and "blemish" his country.
A jury deliberating the fate of a Turkish banker charged with helping Iran evade U.S. economic sanctions wants to know what happens if it reaches a verdict on only some charges.
The Manhattan federal court jury asked the question as it returned to work Wednesday after holiday break in the trial of Halkbank executive Mehmet Hakan Atilla. The trial has drawn heated criticism from Turkish leaders, who say it is designed to discredit the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The jury was off all last week for the holidays.
Judge Richard Berman said the jury's question did not indicate they were deadlocked so he instructed them to continue their work.
Atilla testified that he acted professionally and legally.
After an extended holiday break, a New York jury is poised to resume deliberating the fate of a Turkish banker charged with helping Iran evade U.S. economic sanctions.
The Manhattan federal court jury enters a fourth day of deliberations Wednesday in the trial of Halkbank executive Mehmet Hakan Atilla. The jury was off all last week for the holidays.
Atilla has pleaded not guilty to charges that he helped Iran launder oil and gas revenues through world banks, including in the U.S.
The trial attracted considerable interest in Turkey, where government officials criticized the United States for the prosecution.
The criticism came in part because the government's main witness was a Turkish gold trader who testified that bribes to government officials helped the conspiracy proceed