Hakan Atilla’s acquittal request denied by US court

Acquittal request of former deputy CEO of Halkbank, who was found guilty of violating US sanctions on Iran, denied by judge

By Betul Yuruk

NEW YORK (AA) – A judge in New York Wednesday turned down the request by a former Turkish banker convicted of violating U.S. sanctions on Iran to acquit him of all charges due to lack of evidence.

Trial judge Richard Berman turned down the request by Mehmet Hakan Atilla, former deputy CEO of Halkbank, saying there was “sufficient evidence” supporting the accusations.

On Dec. 15, Atilla’s lawyers sought a dismissal of all accusations against Atilla and his acquittal, also due to insufficient evidence, as the prosecutor’s office was unable to prove that Atilla had a connection with the crime committed by Turkish businessman Riza Sarraf.

On Jan. 3. Atilla was found guilty by a jury on five charges related to conspiracy and bank fraud but was acquitted of money laundering.

Atilla’s next hearing is set for April 11.

Sarraf -- who was arrested in the U.S. in March 2016, accused of violating U.S. sanctions on Iran -- had pleaded guilty in the case last October and cooperated with prosecutors.

Atilla was tried as the only defendant in the case.

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