Skip to comments.Turkey shocked over banker's arrest in New York
Posted on 03/29/2017 2:57:05 PM PDT by Texas Fossil
A high-ranking official from Turkeys second-largest state-owned bank was arrested in New York City March 27.
On the orders of the acting US attorney for the Southern District of New York, Joon H. Kim, FBI agents arrested Mehmet Hakan Atilla, Halkbanks vice president for international banking, for violating the US-led sanctions against Iran. The press release from Kims office accused Atilla with participating in a years-long scheme to violate American sanctions laws by helping Reza Zarrab, a major gold trader, use U.S. financial institutions to engage in prohibited financial transactions that illegally funneled millions of dollars to Iran.
Zarrab, a Turkish citizen of Azeri Iranian background who himself is currently in US custody, entered the spotlight in December 2013, when he was arrested for bribing high-ranking Cabinet ministers from Turkeys ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). The scandal erupted with the arrest of several AKP ministers sons by police officers and prosecutors suspected to be linked to US-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen. Meanwhile, compromising phone conversations involving various AKP personalities, including then-AKP Chairman and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, appeared online. The corruption and eavesdropping scandal led to a fallout between Gulen and Erdogan, who had enjoyed an alliance against Turkeys secular old guard from 2002 until 2013.
Prior to reaching notoriety, Zarrab allegedly acted as the go-between for Turkey and Iran when Washington maintained a nearly watertight sanctions regime against Tehran over its nuclear program. (It is worth noting that an Al-Monitor story translated from the Turkish daily Milliyet in September 2012 some 15 months before Zarrabs arrest in Turkey identifies him as a leading name in the gold-for-oil scheme.)
The sanctions regime, which intensified from 2010 to 2016, involved such technical matters as denying Iranian banks access to SWIFT, the worlds leading international financial transfer system, and barring Iranian oil tankers from purchasing insurance policies. In this context, Ankara bought oil and natural gas from Tehran in exchange for gold bullion, which is much harder to trace than electronic money transfers. As Al-Monitors Fehim Tastekin reported in December 2013, Halkbank played a key role in the so-called gold-for-gas trade between Turkey and Iran.
Atillas arrest is likely to trouble the already problematic ties between the United States and Turkey. On March 19, 2016, US officials arrested Zarrab in Miami for violating the Iran sanctions. Because of Zarrabs connections to the AKP, Turkish officials lashed out against the United States, describing his arrest as sick behavior and strategic animosity against Erdogan and Turkey. Some media outlets even claimed that Preet Bharara, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York who had overseen Zarrabs arrest, was connected to the Gulenist network that many Turks refer to as the Fethullah Gulen Terror Organization, or FETO. The problem got so serious that according to Hurriyets Washington correspondent Tolga Tanis, Erdogan put serious pressure on US Vice President Joe Biden to have Zarrab released when they met in New York in September 2016.
Although they have remained quiet so far, Erdogan and the AKP will likely interpret Atillas arrest in the same vein as Zarrabs situation and accuse Washington of engaging in hostile behavior against Turkey. US-Turkey relations are bound to get more complicated on the eve of US Secretary of State Rex Tillersons visit to Turkey set for March 30.
Mehmet Hakan Atilla (Halkbanks vice president for international banking)
Reza Zarrab (a major gold trader)
Fethullah Gulen (US-based Turkish cleric)
Recep Tayyip Erdogan (then-AKP Chairman and Turkish Prime Minister)
Preet Bharara (recently removed US attorney for the Southern District of New York)
AND now US Secretary of State Rex Tillersons visit to Turkey set for March 30.
WOW, talk about wild events before the April 16th Referendum.
Real mind twister
Wow! I wonder if the Clinton Foundation is in there anywhere?
Erdogan needs to pay for treating our Incirlik nukes so cavalierly during their lastest ‘coup’.
They have not been at Incirlik for long time.
Would not surprise me at all. The Bitch, the Bastard and the Dog were all complicit in sending arms to Syria and the Jihadi’s. We clearly see the consequences of that.
Tie all of this together and you could not make up such a script.
Shouldn’t Obama be arrested then?? He violated the sanctions in Spades and every Money Laundering Law on the books.
But hey, Wells Fargo Committed:
2 Million counts of Fraud
2 Million counts of Wire Fraud
2 Million counts of Identity Theft
2 Million counts of Mail Fraud
2 Million counts of Money Laundering
2 Million counts of Security Violations
they only got a paltry fine
Actually Turkey is know for Turkies.
Well it was the ObamaNation.
God BLESS you, President Trump !
God BLESS you, President Trump !
The clinton foundation. Remember that cleric edorgan wanted us to send back to Turkey? I think he blamed the coup on him. He was a major donor to clinton foundation.
Turkey is shocked.....yeah there is a new sherrif in town.
“Wow! I wonder if the Clinton Foundation is in there anywhere?”
Just another reason the Clinton’s are so pissed that they lost the election. They missed out on their cut of the action.
Yes. And one who is not bullied.
Yes, that was recent. It was Gulen, on the list.
Our tax dollars at work......finally.
Erdogan is getting a message.
Well, guess we will soon see how it goes on the 16th.
That one is up to the Turks.
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