ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) - In a testimony in a New York federal court, Turkish-Iranian gold trader said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan authorized a scheme to help Iran launder money.
Reza Zarrab is on trial in New York for having helped Iran evade U.S. sanctions while President Erdogan was in charge.
He claims that Turkey's economy minister Zafer Caglayan informed him that President and then-treasury minister Ali Babacan authorized two Turkish banks to move funds for Iran.
The two banks he mentioned Ziraat Bank and VakifBank denied the accusation.
Zarrab has so far told the court that he helped Iran use funds deposited at Halkbank to buy gold, which was smuggled to Dubai and sold for cash
Erdogan who has called the case "plot against Turkey" denied that his country violated US sanctions.
In the case of conspiring to help Iran evade sanction so far, nine people have been charged and two have been arrested, Zarrab, 34, and Atilla, 47.
Zarrab explained that when the US sanctions changed in 2013, he started transferring money through fake food purchases.
Zarrab has said that Atilla helped design the gold transactions, along with Halkbank’s former general manager, Suleyman Aslan.
Zarrab added on Thursday that while following his scheme, he bribed Aslan and former Turkish economy minister Zafer Caglayan both of whom have been charged.
Turkey’s government has previously said that Caglayan acted lawfully, and Halkbank has said it acted lawfully as well.
Caglayan previously said that similar allegations in a 2013 corruption investigation in Turkey that was later dismissed were “unfounded claims.”