In a high-profile trial that stoked tensions between the U.S. and Turkey, a federal jury has found a Turkish banker guilty of conspiring to help Iran launder money and cover up a billion-dollar scheme to evade U.S. sanctions.
Mehmet Hakan Atilla, 47, was convicted Wednesday of five of the six counts against him, including bank fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and sanctions evasion. He was acquitted of one count of money laundering.
After three weeks of testimony, the 12 jurors deliberated for four days to reach the verdict. Atilla could now face up to decades in prison. He will be sentenced on April 11.
The trial was closely followed, largely due to the identity of the government’s star witness: Reza Zarrab, a wealthy gold trader who has connections to top Turkish officials and is a household name in Turkey. During seven days on the witness stand, Zarrab’s testimony linked Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other top Turkish and Iranian officials to the sanctions-evasion scheme.
An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.
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