Turkish banker in Iran sanctions case faces sentencing

Defense lawyers say a Turkish banker convicted of helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions deserves leniency, but prosecutors want him locked up for at least 15 years.

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U.S. District Judge Richard Berman will sentence Mehmet Hakan Atilla on Wednesday in Manhattan.

The 47-year-old Atilla was convicted at a trial that ended in January.

His lawyers say a calculation by court employees that he should serve life in prison is “draconian” and “stupefyingly unreasonable and unjust.” They say a prison sentence should be less than four years.

Atilla worked for Turkey’s state-run Halkbank when prosecutors say he joined a multiyear conspiracy in 2011 to help Iran launder billions of dollars in Iranian oil proceeds.

A spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (REH’-jehp TY’-ihp UR’-doh-wahn) has called the trial outcome a “scandalous verdict.”

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