Gold trader says he never liked Turkish banker facing trial (HALKB)

Turkey detains 17 for ‘providing US with information’ for Zarrab case

Zarrab is a rich former pal of Erdogan who copped a plea and agreed to cooperate with Manhattan feds in their caseagainst a Turkish banker - defying Erdogan's wishes. Zarrab said he used the guard's phone to speak with his wife, daughter and lawyer.

The inmate, who is in his early 60s, "felt helpless and unable to fight off the younger and stronger" man, the suit says, adding that the inmate was also "too scared and embarrassed at that time to complain or to seek help". His comments in Ankara on December 5 came as the trial of Halkbank executive Mehmet Hakan Atilla continued with a fifth day of testimony by the USA government's star witness and alleged mastermind of the scheme to evade sanctions.

The inmate pleaded guilty in July to one count of conspiring to provide material support for a terrorist group and is awaiting sentencing in federal court.

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Halkbank said last week that it had not taken part in any illegal transactions. Zarrab conceded under her questioning that he had lied repeatedly in the course of business, including to Atilla.

US authorities arrested Zarrab in March 2016 when he entered the United States with his wife, daughter and four other people for a trip to Disney World. He said he had a "close relationship" with Suleyman Aslan, who was Halkbank's general manager and Atilla's superior until 2013. The sexual assaults continued, until the other inmate eventually "had the courage" to complain to staff and Zarrab was moved to another unit, the complaint says. Zarrab is testifying against Turkish banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla.

Zarrab said he paid bribes to Aslan, repeating his testimony in direct examination, but never to Atilla. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Prosecutors disclosed last week that Zarrab pled guilty in October to helping Iran avoid sanctions and bribing a guard.

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He told the court that he admitted to US prosecutors that he had paid bribes in Turkey, misstated his Turkish income between 2002 and 2016 and procured prostitutes for other people around 2013.

Istanbul Public Prosecutor's Office ordered seizure of a $58-million Challenger 300 jet belonging to a company owned by Zarrab, his 46-meter superyacht, estimated to be valued at $7 million, over espionage charges, media said on Thursday.

Zarrab last month accepted all the US charges against him, including the violation of now-lifted USA sanctions against Iran, money laundering and other charges and agreed to cooperate as a witness against Mehmet Hakan Atilla, the former deputy CEO of Turkey's state-run lender Halkbank. Erdogan on Sunday dismissed the case as a politically motivated attack on Turkey.

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But asked afterwards by reporters whether he would do so if invited, he replied with a grin: "Yeah, why not". He was the most-streamed artist of 2017 and has supported various good causes.

"Turkey has no plans against the United States, but it is clear that the USA has plans against us", Erdogan said.

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