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Sunday October 20th, 2019 6:09PM

Turkish-Iranian gold trader begins testimony at US trial

By The Associated Press
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NEW YORK (AP) — A soft-spoken wealthy Turkish-Iranian gold trader has begun testifying at a New York trial as prosecutors try to prove he helped Iran evade U.S. economic sanctions.

Reza Zarrab, wearing tan scrubs, testified Wednesday morning as a key witness against Turkish banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla. Court papers show Zarrab pleaded guilty last month to bank fraud, money laundering and other charges as part of a deal to testify.

Prosecutors say Zarrab and Atilla laundered Iranian oil money in violation of U.S. economic sanctions against Iran. They say the conspiracy involved bribes and kickbacks to high-level officials.

Atilla has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors had kept secret that Zarrab was cooperating in a bid for leniency. Atilla's lawyer says the trial is about Zarrab's crimes.

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