U.S. delays sentencing of Turkish banker in Iran sanctions case


U.S. judge Richard Berman has postponed till May 16 the sentencing Turkish banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who was convicted in a high profile case of violating U.S. sanctions on Iran, pro-government Hürriyet Daily News said.

A New York federal court in January found Atilla guilty on five charges for his part in a complex scheme to help Iran evade sanctions imposed over its nuclear programme by sending gold from Turkey to pay for Iranian oil and gas and then laundering the proceeds through Turkish state-owned Halkbank.

Atilla’s trial upset already shaky relations between Turkey and the United States due to prosecution allegations that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had given the green light to the scheme and that former economy minister Zafer Çağlayan had taken millions of dollars in bribes to help cover it up.

Berman earlier this month put back sentencing Atilla by nearly four weeks citing issues raised by lawyers for both sides in their sentencing submissions.

But the judge then postponed sentencing again from May 7 to May 16, citing the unavailability of Turkish translators on the first date.

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