Erdogan helped Iran evade USA sanctions, Zarrab claims

Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab has been arrested in Florida last year by US authorities

Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab has been arrested in Florida last year by US authorities. ( AFP Archive

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.

Ankara says USA prosecutors have based their case on documents fabricated by Gulen's followers, who it also blames for orchestrating last year's failed coup in Turkey.

However he did not say who the payments were made to or how large they were and as yet the Turkish government has not responded.

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The U.S. trial, in which Atilla's alleged role has been overshadowed by testimony linking Erdogan personally to sanctions-busting, has raised diplomatic tensions with Turkey.

But Zarrab said he never paid Atilla a bribe and that Atilla never asked him for money. Zarrab's lawyer, Robert Anello, insists that his client recognises the importance of telling the truth.

It is important to note that while Zarrab has confessed to the crime and Atilla is on trial, the real criminal here is the Iranian Regime.

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The case has strained ties between the United States and Turkey, both members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military alliance. The Iran sanctions "case has nothing to do with law, justice, or trade, it's an acrobatic spectacle", he said.

The US prosecutors have charged nine defendants in the case of the sanctions evasion scheme, but only Zarrab and Atilla have been arrested by US authorities. It has infuriated President Tayyip Erdogan, who has cast the trial as an attempt to undermine Turkey and its economy.

"This trial is an global coup attempt, a process at the centre of which is FETO", he said, using the Turkish government's term for Gulen's network. It is believed that Turkey will seize Zarrab's assets.

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