Ilhan Tanir, New YorkDuring the court hearing today, the prosecutor’s office disclosed that they will prove the cooperation and coordination between high-level Turkish and Iranian officials with Turkish/Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab to evade US sanctions.
Attorney General’s assistant Michael Lockart surprised the Zarrab defense team by making this unexpected declaration.
In an affidavit the court received last week, Giuliani claimed that none of the transactions Mr. Zarrab is alleged to have participated “involved weapons or nuclear technology, or any other contraband, but rather involved consumer goods.” Today the New York District Attorney’s office rebuffed Giuliani’s claims and reminded the court that Zarrab -in the second indictment -, had helped the Revolutionary Guards in Syria and Iraq noting that this is a US national security issue.
Earlier Washington Hattı wrote that our sources close to the Southern District of New York District Attorney’s office were disturbed by Giuliani’s role as a “mediator” in this case.
Last week in Washington Hatti we drew attention to this particular issue and said that “Giuliani’s claims that Zarrab’s activities only involved “consumer goods” contradicts the indictment.
Today also Bloomberg reported yak L<,that David Kelley, a former U.S. attorney in Manhattan, said prosecutors cherish their independence, removed from politics and foreign-policy considerations, and blanch at any suggestion that a criminal case might be compromised.
“They’re looking to resolve a criminal case through political means,” he said of Giuliani and another Zarrab lawyer, former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey. Their actions “run the risk of politicizing the Justice Department, and every time that happens in one form or another, there are serious consequences and fallout from it,” added Kelley, who’s not involved in the case.
The chief public prosecutor reminded the precise nature of the accusations against Zarrab asked the court to recognize the weight of the charges.
The chief prosecutor also pointed out that the prosecution will prove that Reza Zarrab, cooperated with Iranian and Turkish senior officials to evade the Iranian sanctions.
Mr. Zarrab’s lead lawyer Benjamin Brafman protested by saying that they had no idea that these issues would be brought up and their silence, did not mean they “agree with what is said.”
Atilla and Zarrab appeared together before the court
Turkish public bank Halkbank’s Deputy Manager, Mehmet Hakan Atilla was also present during the hearing. Atilla and Zarrab did not talk to each other during the hearing.
After the trial, Atilla turned to the journalists and pleaded, “I want all of Turkey to know that I have no involvement in this.”
Question from the Judge: What about Atilla?
Judge Richard Berman also asked Rudy Giuliani, and Mike Mukasey if they will be representing Atilla, the Deputy Director of Halkbank, if they were retained by Mr. Zarrab
The defense did not answer the question today.
The judge asked Giuliani and Mukasey to respond until April 27th but Atilla’s lead lawyer Rocco said they may need to ask for an extension.
Contributed by Ela Gonca İzmirli