Turkish court orders detention of two over U.S. court case

A Turkish court has issued detention warrants for two people including a former opposition lawmaker for allegedly providing fake evidence and documents to a court case in the United States, private broadcaster CNN Turk said on Tuesday.

CNN Turk identified the two wanted individuals as former Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Aykan Erdemir and banking auditor Osman Zeki Canitez, both of whom it said were named in a witness list presented for the U.S. trial of former Halkbank executive Mehmet Hakan Atilla.

The media relations office at the Istanbul prosecutor’s office said they did not have any information regarding the detention warrants.

U.S. authorities charged Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab and eight other people, including Turkey’s former economy minister and three executives of Turkish state-owned Halkbank, with engaging in transactions worth hundreds of millions of dollars for Iran’s government and Iranian entities from 2010 to 2015 in a scheme to evade U.S. sanctions.

Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who pleaded not guilty, will be the only person on trial in the U.S. case. U.S. District Judge Richard Berman told potential jurots on Monday that Zarrab, who has been the focus of the case, will not go on trial this week. Atilla and Zarrab are the only two defendants who were arrested by U.S. authorities.

Turkish authorities have said that some evidence presented by prosecutors was fabricated for political motives, and state media said two weeks ago authorities had launched an investigation into the prosecutors who initiated the U.S. case.

Halkbank and Turkish officials have said all the bank’s transactions have been fully compliant with national and international regulations, but investors are worried.

At 1100 GMT, shares in Turkey’s state-owned lender Halkbank were trading 4.47 percent lower at 8.97 lira. (Reuters)