A Turkish gold trader who admitted he helped Iran skirt sanctions by moving billions of dollars said he needed to lie about his own crimes to get a break from U.S. authorities, according to a jailhouse recording.
Reza Zarrab, the government’s star witness in the trial of Turkish banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla, testified for a fourth day Monday in Manhattan federal court.
Atilla faces charges of concocting a scheme to avoid the U.S. sanctions against Iran.
Atilla’s lawyers said prosecutors had violated the trial judge’s order by withholding an exhibit that might help the defense team.
Turkish gold dealer pleads guilty, will testify at U.S. trial
In a September 2016 recording, Zarrab, 34, is quoted as saying that there was a perceived need when jailed in the United States to lie “in order to get out or to get a reduced sentence” and that “you need to admit to crimes you haven’t committed” to get out of prison, the lawyers said.
The lawyers said the recording damaged the witness’ credibility.
Zarrab could be cross examined as early as Tuesday.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office declined to comment.
Earlier this year, Zarrab hired former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey to try and broker a diplomatic solution to the case.
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