The jailer of Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian gold trader imprisoned in the U.S. on charges of conspiring to help Iran evade U.S. sanctions, confessed to receiving a bribe in exchange for providing some materials to him.
Victor Casado, one of of Zarrab's prison guard, changed his previous testimony in which he denied the bribe allegations and confessed that he received $50,000 from Zarrab to bring in materials like alcohol, cellphones and some vitamins to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan where Zarrab is being held.
Zarrab, 34, was arrested on March 16, 2016, before turning state's evidence on October 2017 and testifying against the former deputy CEO of Turkey's state-run lender Halkbank, Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who was arrested in March last year while on a business trip in the U.S.
Zarrab has accepted all the U.S. charges against him, including the violation of U.S. sanctions on Iran, money laundering and other charges, and agreed to cooperate as a witness against Atilla. Atilla's lawyers often questioned Zarrab's credibility during the trial; however, a New York jury found Atilla guilty in January on five counts related to conspiracy and bank fraud with the testimony of Zarrab.
Last year during the trials, Zarrab claimed that he gave approximately $45,000 to a prison guard via his lawyer in return for alcohol and a cellphone.
The bribe allegations were detailed in a criminal complaint filed in April against the guard, Casado, who had worked at the Metropolitan Correctional Center since 2012.
Federal prosecutors accused Casado of accepting between $45,000 and $50,000 in bribes from "Inmate-1," typically through an unidentified lawyer.
While Inmate-1 was not identified by name, court papers said he has pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions against Iran and money laundering, matching Zarrab's plea, and to bribery in connection with his dealings with Casado. Inmate-1 gave prosecutors information in the hope of obtaining leniency at sentencing, the papers showed.
Casado, 35, of the Bronx, was charged with five criminal counts, including bribery and fraud. He faces up to 20 years in prison on the most serious charges.
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