NEW YORK – The latest at the New York trial of a Turkish banker accused of laundering Iranian oil money (all times local):
A Turkish-Iranian gold trader says he paid tens of millions of dollars in bribes to the head of a Turkish bank to help evade U.S. sanctions against Iran.
Reza Zarrab told a New York jury at a corruption trial on Thursday that the general manager of Halkbank, Suleyman Aslan, told him 2012 he wanted to be compensated for the risk he was taking by participating in the international scheme.
Zarrab took the witness stand as part of a plea deal in the prosecution of another Halkbank official charged in the case.
He testified that he never paid bribes to the defendant because he was already bribing the defendant's boss and the Turkish finance minister.
The prosecution in Manhattan has been major news in Turkey. Officials there have called it a sham aimed at discrediting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government.
The star witness in the Iran economic sanctions trial of a Turkish banker has arrived in a New York courtroom looking less like a prisoner and more like the gold trader he is.
Reza Zarrab (RAY'-zah ZA'-rahb) got a reprieve Thursday from the drab tan prisoner-style fashion he wore on his first day of testimony at the trial of Mehmet Hakan Atilla.
Zarrab previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy and other charges in the case.
On Wednesday, federal Judge Richard Berman questioned why Zarrab was in prison-like scrubs. A prosecutor said the clothing provided "context."
As court began Thursday, Zarrab credited his lawyers for his new look: a dark suit jacket and slacks.
He said he's in FBI custody now because of threats he received at a federal lockup in lower Manhattan.