Mehmet Hakan Atilla, a deputy general manager of Halkbank, is shown in this court room sketch as he appears in Manhattan federal court in New York, New York, U.S., March 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg
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A banker accused of helping Iran evade economic sanctions was convicted Wednesday in a case that strained ties between the United States and Turkey with its testimony about corruption at the highest levels of the NATO ally's government.The prosecution's star witness, Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian gold trader who admitted orchestrating the deals with Iran, testified that he paid over $50 million in bribes to Turkey's finance minister in 2012 to advance the scheme and that he believed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan knew about the plot.When that effort failed, Zarrab agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.Turkish officials have portrayed the original corruption investigation and the U.S. prosecution as a conspiracy hatched by followers of Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania.
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