Reza Zarrab case: Turkey attacks US justice system

Reza Zarrab in picture through 17 December 2013Image copyright

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The case involving Mr Zarrab has been closely followed in Turkey

Turkey has attacked the US judicial system after a controversial gold trader told a brand new York court he had bribed a Turkish government minister.

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said the Turkish-Iranian trader, Reza Zarrab, had been “pressured into committing slander”.

Mr Zarrab said he had paid the bribes to facilitate deals with Iran, which was under sanctions at the time.

The case has strained relations between Ankara along with Washington.

Mr Zarrab had been due to go on trial yet can be right now the prosecution’s star witness after pleading guilty.

He can be testifying against Turkish banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla on a series of international corruption allegations which reach the highest levels of the Turkish government.

Mr Zarrab was arrested by US officials in 2016 for allegedly conspiring to evade US sanctions against Iran, engaging in hundreds of millions of dollars worth of transactions on behalf of the government of Tehran, money-laundering along with bank fraud.

  • Gold trader’s US legal saga grips Turkey

In court, Mr Zarrab said he had paid Zafer Caglayan, then Turkey’s economy minister, bribes amounting to more than 50m euros ($59m; £44m).

The Turkish government had previously said which Mr Caglayan acted within Turkish along with international law.

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Mr Erdogan has criticised the trial

Mr Zarrab also described how he ran an international money laundering scheme aimed at helping Iran get around US sanctions.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has said the case can be fabricated for political reasons.

Speaking to state-run news agency Anadolu, Mr Bozdag called the trial a “theatre”.

The case can be being closely followed in Turkey yet the country’s mainstream media have treated the idea with caution, BBC Turkish service’s Enis Senerdem says.

Twitter users have created accounts to post translated messages through US journalists tweeting through the courtroom, our correspondent adds.

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