This week, we noted on this blog that attorneys for a major figure in the Turkish financial world, defendant and deputy Halkbank CEO, Mehmet Hakan Atilla, file defensive motions, including efforts to sever him from the others in the oil sanctions evasion case. Were these motions filed, solely as a negotiating tool, with the ultimate aim being to secure a favorable result, in a plea bargain, and is there another agenda here ?
Reliable Turkish sources claim that Atilla has incurred the wrath of senior officials in the Government of Turkey, and he fears that his life will be in danger, should he ever return to his native country. If he agrees to cooperate with American prosecutors, and provide what is known as Substantial Assistance, meaning he will testify against others, and/or assists the US in securing criminal proceeds, he could secure a charge which will insure a short sentence, with additional provisions, which might further solve his personal safety problem
Once he begins to serve that sentence, his sentence could be quietly reduced further, through a Rule 35 motion; such sentence reductions are rarely, if ever, covered by the media. Finally, the plea agreement could provide for him to be deported to a third country, and not Turkey, where he faces a fatal reception.
This means that, should Atilla enter into a Plea Agreement, that there may be others charged in the Zarrab case; Atilla would also be required to testify against Zarrab, and the other, minor defendants in that case, which could cause them to enter a guilty plea, and thereafter implicate still additional defendants. Do you think certain individuals, in Iran and Turkey, and in the offshore financial centers a/k/a tax havens of the world, are paying attention ?
Chronicles of Monte Friesner - Financial Crime Analyst
Contributed by Kenneth Rijock - Financial Crime Consultant