Published: Fri, December 08, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Gold trader Zarrab accused of raping ex-cellmate in his sixties

Gold trader Zarrab accused of raping ex-cellmate in his sixties

- Turkey's president says the NY trial of a Turkish banker is a USA conspiracy being staged to "blackmail" and "blemish" his country.

Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab, who agreed to cooperate with prosecutors to not stand trial in the United States over a breach of now-lifted USA sanctions on Iran, money laundering and other charges, was accused late Thursday by an ex-cellmate in his early 60s of sexual assault in a Manhattan prison.

Zarrab said that the man acknowledged coming after him because he had flipped to the USA government. His comments came as the trial of Halkbank executive Mehmet Hakan Atilla continued in its second week.

Mr. Schacht, asked why he had filed the suit the week Mr. Zarrab was testifying in the sanctions case, said the timing was coincidental and largely a factor of his being retained recently to represent the inmate and of conducting his own investigation.

He testified that he paid bribes to Turkish banking and government officials, including over $50 million in bribes to Turkey's former finance minister Zafer Caglayan in 2012 for his help in laundering a billion dollars in Iranian money.

Zarrab said that retaliation from his government has not stopped him from testifying.

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

"He said that he had received instructions to kill because I was cooperating", he said.

In January, Zarrab bragged he had bribed a Bureau of Prisons employee $4,000 so both men would be moved to a wing of the prison with cells that afforded more privacy, Jaber charges. He testified that he might be permitted to be released on bail once the trial is finished. Zarrab said that after he pleaded guilty in October, he was released from MDC Brooklyn, a jail in NY.

The alleged sexual assault, according to the lawsuit, occurred between November 2016 and March 2017.

Zarrab's testimony likely will win him leniency against charges that otherwise could carry a prison term of up to 130 years.

"On Wednesday, a letter of the defense cited a September 2016 jailhouse call in which Zarrab said he needed to lie in "'in order to get out or to get a reduced sentence". Zarrab also sent money to Jaber's family in Africa and put cash in his commissary account, it added.

In March, Zarrab attacked Jaber with the cucumber, causing bleeding, the suit says.

"Because the two men were alone in their locked cell (Jaber) felt helpless and unable to fight off the younger and stronger (Zarrab)", the suit says.

Ben Brafman, an attorney for Zarrab, said his client "categorically denies the allegation and intends to vigorously defend against the lawsuit".

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