Gülenist Hüseyin Korkmaz, who is a witness in a trial on evasion of now-lifted U.S. sanctions against Iran, confessed late Thursday that he violated Turkish law several times.
Pete Brush, a Law360 reporter who was present at the trial said in a tweet that Korkmaz admitted the violations. "Hüseyin Korkmaz admits he violated Turkish law on several (I think I counted 6) occasions by getting evidence from an unnamed prosecutor and from police sources including wiretaps, documents and forensic reports. Violations occurred in 2013, 2014 and 2016, the ex-cop says," Brush's tweet read.
Korkmaz has been an important name in the trial and has stood out with his contradictory statements, namely for completely denying while he was in Turkey that "he had anything to do with" the December 17-25 judicial coup attempt perpetrated by Gülenist terror group (FETÖ) to overthrow Turkey's democratically elected government, but later confessing after coming to the U.S. that he was actually the investigator of the case with eight officers working under his command.
Korkmaz also testified in a trial in New York that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) gave him $50,000 of "financial assistance" which he said he didn't ask for.
Korkmaz, who said he has not been employed in the U.S., also received "help with his rent" from the prosecutor's office, according to his testimony.
"I took my wife and my daughter and I left the country that I dearly love," Korkmaz testified. He said he eventually came to the United States with the help of U.S. law enforcement authorities, bringing audio recordings and other evidence he snuck out from Turkey.
Korkmaz was testifying in Manhattan federal court for U.S. prosecutors in the trial of Mehmet Hakan Atilla, an executive at the majority state-owned Halkbank , who is accused of taking part in a scheme with gold trader Reza Zarrab to help Iran evade U.S. sanctions. Halkbank has denied involvement with any illegal transactions.
Zarrab, a Turkish and Iranian national, has pleaded guilty and testified against Atilla, saying he used fraudulent food and gold transactions to launder money for Iran with the help of Atilla and others. Atilla has pleaded not guilty.
U.S. prosecutors have charged a total of nine people in the case. Only Zarrab, 34, and Atilla, 47, have been arrested by U.S. authorities.
Korkmaz testified on Monday that he began investigating Zarrab in 2012 for smuggling gold and money laundering. He told the jury that he never saw evidence that Atilla had taken bribes. He testified that soon after the searches, he was reassigned to another unit. He told the jury that he decided to leave Turkey in 2016 because another prosecutor had requested an order for his arrest and he did not feel safe.