Mehmet Hakan Atilla, Reza Zarrab, accused

On October 21 2019, Turkey named a former Turkiye Bank Halkasi AS executive who was convicted in a U.S. trial over the sanctions scheme as the new chief executive of the Istanbul stock exchange. The executive, Mehmet Hakan Atilla, was released from U.S. custody earlier this summer. A U.S. prosecutor called Turkey’s Halkbank a “fugitive” after lawyers for the state-owned bank failed to appear in an American courtroom on charges that it evaded sanctions on Iran.Turkiye Bank Halkasi AS was charged last week with scheming to help Iran tap $20 billion in frozen overseas accounts.

[July 6 2019 Hormuz: focus on sanctions ]

[May 16 2018 Turkish banker gets 32 months for helping Iran launder money ]

Mehmet Hakan Atilla, a Turkish banker at Turkey’s state-controlled Halkbank (HALKB.IS), was sentenced to 32 months in prison on Wednesday, May 16, after he was found guilty of taking part in a scheme to help Iran evade U.S. sanctions. Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab bribed Turkish officials, and said Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan personally signed off on parts of the scheme while serving as Turkey’s prime minister.

[January 5 Turkish executive Mehmet Hakan Atilla convicted of bank fraud and conspiracy to violate U.S. sanctions law ]

Mehmet Hakan Atilla, an executive at Turkey’s majority state-owned Halkbank (HALKB.IS), was convicted on five of six counts he faced, including bank fraud and conspiracy to violate U.S. sanctions law, in Manhattan federal court.

[December 3 2017 Erdogan approved, Turk tried for laundering millions of dollars for Iranians ]

December 3, 2017 The gist of a story: The then-PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan took Zarrib’s side and changed the story, claiming that Zarrib was a philanthropist and an asset for Turkey. In an early sign of the way Turkey’s president deals with opposition, all the officials involved in the investigation into the Iran scheme were relocated, dismissed, or even jailed. Then Erdogan blamed the whole thing on exiled opponent Fethullah Gulen, a favorite external enemy of the Turkish president.
When U.S. prosecutors arrested Zarrib, it strained bilateral relations between Washington and Ankara, and these have been getting increasingly strained.

Turkish authorities on December 1 issued an arrest warrant for former U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer Graham Fuller over suspected links to the abortive putsch.


The warrant accuses Fuller, a former vice chairman of the CIA’s National

Intelligence Council, of “attempting to overthrow the government of the Republic of Turkey” and “obtaining state information that must be kept secret for political and military espionage purposes,” among other charges, according to Turkish media.

Experts, however, say Turkey is attempting to get back at the U.S. for bringing a Turkish citizen to court. The U.S. is currently trying a Turkish banker for allegedly helping Iran launder money and violate U.S. sanctions. This week, Reza Zarrab, a key witness in the case, implicated Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, claiming that he instructed Turkish banks to participate in the multimillion-dollar laundering scheme. [December 2]  A Turkish prosecutor yesterday ordered a seizure of the assets of gold trader Zarrab and at least 20 of his family members and contacts. Istanbul Deputy Chief Prosecutor Hasan Yilmaz cited “Zarrab’s espionage, revealing secret information for benefits of foreign states” as the reason for seizure assets.

[December 2 ]

attila 2 - Edited

On the third day of the trial of Mehmet Hakan Atilla, an executive at Turkey’s state-owned Halkbank, Reza Zarrab told jurors that he helped Iran use funds deposited at Halkbank to buy gold, which was smuggled to Dubai and sold for cash. On November 30, he said that he had to stop the gold trades and start moving money through fake food purchases instead in 2013, after U.S. sanctions changed.

Zarrab has said that Atilla helped design the gold transactions, along with Halkbank’s former general manager, Suleyman Aslan.
Zarrab said he had learned from Zafer Caglayan, who was Turkey’s economy minister, that Erdogan and then-treasury minister Ali Babacan had authorized two Turkish banks, Ziraat Bank and VakifBank, to move funds for Iran. Recep Tayyip Erdogan was then Turkey’s prime minister.

Both Ziraat and VakifBank denied taking part in the scheme.

[November 30 Zafer Caglayan named ]

Prosecutors allege Turkey’s former economy minister Zafer Caglayan was involved in the conspiracy. He denies the charges. In Turkey where a court issued warrants for the arrest of two men for providing fake evidence in the case. It identified the men as a former opposition politician and a banking auditor, both of whom were named on the witness list at the New York trial.

[ November 28 ]


Mehmet Hakan Atilla, Reza Zarrab, accused

28 November 2017 A Turkish trader, Reza Zarrab, had been headed to trial with Turkish banker in Manhattan federal court until he suddenly stopped appearing at pretrial hearings. That’s prompted speculation he could testify against the banker.

The trial is of Halkbank Deputy CEO Mehmet Hakan Atilla, a top executive for a state-run bank in Turkey, accused of conspiring to help Iran evade economic sanctions.

Attilla has pleaded not guilty to charges alleging he violated U.S. sanctions against Iran by processing hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of financial transactions for Iranian businesses or Iran’s government through American banks.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said on November 27 that the case against Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab and banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla had “no legal basis” and should be “dropped or terminated.”
Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim, the top U.S. prosecutor in the case, has called Ankara’s conspiracy allegations “ridiculous.”

“It displays a fundamental misunderstanding of how our justice system works,” Kim said. “The defendants are charged with serious crimes. That’s why the case is being brought and that’s the only reason.”

U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman, who is overseeing the case, said Turkey’s government should provide evidence if it thinks the defendants are being unfairly prosecuted, rather than hurling criticism at prosecutors.

[January 18 2016 Iranian-linked entities sanctioned for Missile rôle, Iranians violating American trade sanctions get clemency ]


The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned nearly a dozen Iranian-linked entities January 17 for their alleged role in Tehran’s ballistic-missile program.
Hossein Pournaghshband, Mabrooka Trading,
Chen Mingfu, Anhui Land Group Co.
Rahim Reza Farghadani, Candid General Trading
Sayyed Javad Musavi, Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group (SHIG)
Seyed Mirahmad Nooshin, Sayyed Medhi Farahi, Seyed Mohammad Hashemi
Mehrdada Akhlaghi, Shahid Bakeri Industrial Group
Read Treasury

Seven Iranians accused or convicted of violating American trade sanctions against Iran were granted clemency by President Obama as part of a prisoner release between the two long-estranged nations.
Nader Modanlo, Bahram Mechanic, Khosrow Afghahi, Tooraj Faridi, Arash Ghahreman, Nima Golestaneh and Ali Saboonchi. One was an aerospace expert convicted of helping Iran launch its first satellite into space. Another was a maritime engineer found guilty of providing navigation technology to the Iranians. And three men had ties to a company accused of illegally exporting millions of dollars in American technology with military applications to Iran.

[April 4 2011 Commerzbank AG, Frankfurt am Main, will pay U.S penalty, posted profit of 264 million euros]

Germany’s second-largest lender, via Commerz New York, will pay$ 1.45 billion t to defer prosecuting the lender for violating U.S. laws, including sanctions on doing business with Iran and Sudan, to government agencies including the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department. The Frankfurt-based bank conceded the allegations, which included aiding accounting fraud at Olympus Corp.
From at least 2002 to 2008, the bank used a series of measures, including stripping out information identifying sanctioned clients, to process transactions valued at more than $250 billion on behalf of Iranian and Sudanese entities, according to authorities.
The bank is expanding lending to German consumers and companies while winding down soured shipping and real estate loans. Blessing has also pledged to cut at least 5,200 staff as he seeks to reach profitability targets set for 2016. The company posted profit of 264 million euros in 2014, up from 81 million euros a year earlier.

[December 11 2011 Germany: We have been trying for 50 years not to lead]

Angela Merkel as the Greeks see her

Angela Merkel as the Greeks see her

Berlin’s dominance has shaken the Franco-German equilibrium at the heart of the post-World War II balance of power. Debt contagion and slumping growth have driven French borrowing costs to a euro-era record against Germany. The result may be a remade political map with even Poland, invaded by Adolf Hitler in 1939, calling for a stronger German role.
“We are an unwilling leader,” Wolfgang Ischinger, a former German ambassador to Britain and the U.S. and now chairman of the Munich Security Conference, said in an interview. “We have been trying for 50 years not to lead. Germany will have to grow up now. It’s new and there will be a learning curve and mistakes will be made.”
[December 3]Euro-zone banks’ overnight deposits with the European Central Bank hit yet another fresh 2011 high December 2. Banks deposited €332.705 billion ($445.49 billion) with the ECB, the ECB said December 5, hitting a 2011 record for the third day in a row. The deposits were up from €313.763 billion Thursday, hitting a level last seen in June 2010 while edging closer to the all-time high.

When markets are functioning properly, banks deposit a few hundred million euros at the ECB overnight. With the deepening of the euro-zone debt crisis, banks have become reluctant to lend to one another and place their funds with the ECB instead, in the fear that their counterparty may be exposed to week euro-zone sovereign debt.
[December 3]SchnittsKrieg, a war of cuts, deep, damaging austerity that amputates and excises and rearranges the targeted economies

By robbing a currency of its value, inflation wipes the slate clean for debtors and savers alike. Germans say they like the slate the way it is because they are on the plus side of the ledger.

Consumer debt, whether credit cards or in many cases even home mortgages, is frowned upon in Germany. According to figures of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the German savings rate was more than 10 percent every year between 2003 and 2009, while during the same period it bottomed out at 1.5 percent in the United States, and never rose above 6.2 percent. As a result German households had net savings of $4.3 trillion, according to the Bundesbank, in a country of fewer than 82 million people.
German focus on inflation is woefully misplaced during a time of little or no growth and severe market turmoil. If Europe slashes spending while the economy is still in a depression they will kill the Euro.