Click to read the article in Turkish
Reza Zarrab testified in the fourth hearing in the trial of then Halkbank Deputy General Director Mehmet Hakan Atilla charged with evading United States (US) sanctions on Iran on December 4, 2017. The case is heard in Federal District Court in Manhattan.
Zarrab, who was arrested in March 2016 in the US and faced up to 95 years in prison, had accepted to cooperate with the prosecutors and testify as a witness in the trial.
Testifying in the fourth hearing, Zarrab pointed to the following issues:
* Details of the fictitious trade with the state-owned Halkbank
Zarrab stated that then Halkbank General Director Süleyman Aslan said that the money coming from Iran was too much and impossible to explain and justify with food trade.
He added that their solution was to transfer the money in 5 million dollar portions and explained which measures he and Aslan worked on to avoid that the fictitious food trade to be traced back.
* Bribing his way out of prison
Zarab confirmed that he had been arrested in the December 17-25 corruption and bribery investigations in 2013 and was later released after paying bribes.
He testified, that he contacted Halkbank's then General Director, Ali Fuat Taşkesenlioğlu after getting out of prison but added that he he did not pay Taşkesenlioğlu any bribes and continued his trade with gold and food.
How did Zarrab's system work?
Zarrab said facilitating a payment for Iran requires a minimum of 10 transactions. He called Halkbank the heart.
Here are the 10 transactions:
1- The NIOC sells oil to TÜPRAŞ and natural gas to BOTAŞ.
2- The company called Sermaye Exchange (Capital Exchange), established in Iran, opens an account in Halkbank. The company isn’t actually involved in trade. It is used for money transfer.
3- NIOC transfers the payment it receives from the TÜPRAŞ and BOTAŞ to Zarrab's company.
4- Sermaye Exchange transfers the payment to Zarrab's company.
5- Zarrab's company's account is also in Halkbank. The transfer occurs between the two accounts in Halkbank.
6- Zarrab converts the money coming to his account in Halkbank to different currencies (euro, dollar, lira) and transfers it to his other account in Denizbank.
7- The account in Halkbank is cleansed that way.
8- Zarrab purchases gold with the money in Denizbank through Royal Group, which he established in Turkey and made gold trade.
9- Gold is moved to Dubai via couriers. Gold is converted to Dirham in Dubai.
10- Since money never enters Iran, it is used to pay for Iran's international debts.
Trial of Reza Zarrab
Reza Zarrab was arrested on December 21 as a part of the December 17-25 corruption and bribery investigation. He was released after 70 days of imprisonment.
Iranian businessperson Babek Zencani, who was indicated to be Zarrab's partner in Iran, was sentenced to capital punishment on the charge of corruption on March 6, 2016.
Zencani has companies in Turkey too. Kont Group Cosmetics in Beşiktaş district of İstanbul is one of them. Zencani is also allegedly linked to Onur Air. Zencani's attorneys in the past few days had stated in the lawsuit they brought in İstanbul that Onur Air belongs to them.
Zencani was frequently associated with Reza Zarrab in this period. In the report prepared by inspectors of the Ministry of Customs and Trade, a relation between the two was mentioned.
Zarrab had been taken into custody in the Miami city airport while trying to enter the United States and was arrested on March 22.
On his first hearing on April 27, Zarrab facing up to 95 years of imprisonment denied the accusations of conspiring to evade US sanctions against Iran, money laundering and bank fraud.
On October 26, Zarrab pleaded guilty and it was announced by the state attorney's office on November 28.
What did Zarrab explain in the hearings?
Rıza Sarraf accepted to testify as a witness in the trial of former Halkbank Deputy General Director Mehmet Hakan Atilla who is standing trial for evading embargo against Iran. In the hearing on November 29, 2017, he testified before the jury for the first time.
In the first hearing, Sarraf explained the money laundering system for Iran, that could not carry out any international business due to the embargo by the United States (US). Sarraf told that he hid the resource of the money that Iran had earned by oil and natural gas by transferring the money between various different accounts with the held of Halkbank.
He stated that former Minister of the European Union (EU) Egemen Bağış helped him open an account at Aktif Bank and later bribed the then Minister of Economy Zafer Çağlayan to work with Halkbank.
On the second day of the trial on November 30, Sarraf explained that he bribed then-Halkbank General Director Süleyman Aslan. He added that former Halkbank Deputy General Director Mehmet Hakan Atilla who is the suspect of the trial, was carrying out the operation as the person who had the best knowledge of money laundering within the embargo but that he did not ask for bribe.
Sarraf also noted that Çağlayan informed him that then-Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan and then-Vice Minister of Economy Ali Babacan "gave approval an order to start doing that trade".
Sarraf said that Mehmet Hakan Atilla was uninformed about some of the issues and that they copied former Halkbank General Director Arslan's signature to bypass him since they were tired of Arslan asking for bribe everytime they called him for business.
On the third day of the trial on December 1, Sarraf explained why they gave up on gold trade and chose to launder money through food trade instead. Following the third hearing, US courts have begun to share some evidence with the public.
Related bianet News
REZA ZARRAB CASE 3RD HEARING Zarrab: Hakan Atilla Didn’t Know Everything, Süleyman Aslan Did 04 December 2017In the third hearing of trial of then Halkbank Deputy General Director Atilla, ...
Assets of Sarraf, His Acquaintances to Be Confiscated 04 December 2017As a part of an investigation launched by İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office ...
REZA ZARRAB CASE 2ND HEARING Zarrab: Erdoğan Personally Gave Order for Gold Trade 01 December 2017The second hearing of the trial of then Halkbank Deputy General Director Mehmet ...
AKP on Sarraf: These are Accusations of a Hostage 30 November 2017Party Spokesperson Ünal has delivered a speech in the wake of the meeting ...
REZA ZARRAB CASE 1ST HEARING Reza Zarrab Explains Whom He Worked with to By-Pass US Sanctions on Iran 30 November 2017Reza Zarrab has testified in the case in which then Halkbank Deputy General ...
CHP’s Gök: Intelligence Agency’s Report on Sarraf was Sent to Erdoğan 29 November 2017Disclosing that the National Intelligence Agency has a document on Sarraf involving in ...
Spokesperson Kalın: Trial of Sarraf is 'Political' 21 November 2017Stating that trial of Sarraf is “political”, Government Spokesperson Kalın has said, “We ...
Government Spokesperson Bozdağ: They Force Sarraf to Slander 20 November 2017Pointing to the US courts, Government Spokesperson Bozdağ has said, “They force Rıza ...
Vice PM Bozdağ on Sarraf: His Health Condition is Fine 16 November 2017Vice PM Bozdağ has announced that the US responded to the diplomatic note ...
Most Read Today
‘Kurdistan’ Penalty for HDP MP Osman Baydemir 13 December 2017
Police Who Shot Kemal Kurkut to Death is Still on Duty 14 December 2017
Artist Tunç: The Accusations are Political, I Don’t Accept Them 15 December 2017