Jan 4, 2018

U.S. conviction of Turkish banker stirs tensions between nations

The front page of an Ankara newspaper showing Atilla in the courtroom. Photo: Altan Gocher / NurPhoto via Getty Images

Mehmet Hakan Atilla, a Turkish banker, has been found guilty of bank fraud and conspiracy due to his involvement in a plot to help Iran evade U.S. sanctions. Atilla's conviction in New York has spurred anger in Ankara, with Turkey's foreign ministry accusing the U.S, of "unprecedented intervention in Turkey's domestic affairs," per BBC News.

Why it matters: Atilla was convicted based on statements by Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab, who spoke after admitting to taking part in the scheme himself, the BBC reports. And "Zarrab's schemes, which could have helped Iran pocket more than $100 billion, rank among the largest sanctions evasion episode in modern history," Jonathan Schanzer of FDD — a Washington-based national security research firm — wrote in the Atlantic.

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