Zarrab case in US leftover from July 15 coup, PM says

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published

The ongoing Reza Zarrab case in the United States is a leftover of the Gülenist July 15, 2016 coup attempt, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said.

Delivering a speech at an event in Ankara yesterday, Yıldırım said that the Zarrab case in New York is a farce. "The actor in the case turned into a witness before coming to the court, while he was a defendant."

Recalling the recent news that Zarrab said that lying is the easiest way out of prison, the prime minister said: "The man clearly says: If you lie, you will save yourself from punishment."

Yıldırım asserted that the Zarrab case is nothing but an attempt to finish the job that was left uncompleted on July 15 by the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ). "The aim here is to achieve the work left uncompleted on July 15 by way of an economic attack. The Turkish economy and nation will repel this attack. Everyone should be sure of that. There is trust, stability and a strong economy in Turkey."

Meanwhile, Zarrab also admitted to lying to state-run lender Halkbank employees. Zarrab said that most Halkbank employees had no knowledge of his work. "There was a high rank in the bank that knew what kind of trade we were doing. The low rank did not know what we were doing. … It is absolutely true that I lied to people that did not know."

Zarrab, 34, was arrested by U.S. authorities in March 2016 on suspicion of taking part in the alleged sanctions-busting scam, but is now cooperating with the authorities in an apparent plea bargain. He previously accepted all the charges against him, the violation of now-lifted U.S. sanctions against Iran, money laundering and other charges and agreed to cooperate as a state's witness against Mehmet Hakan Atilla, the former deputy CEO of Halkbank.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also briefly commented on the Zarrab case yesterday before heading to Greece. Asserting that being powerful does not necessarily equate to being right, Erdoğan said that Turkey is well aware of the plots being carried out in legal cases. "We are right on this, and we know very well what is behind these plots from this recent court process," he said.

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