Banker in Iran sanctions case says life term isn’t justified

Bloomberg– A Turkish banker convicted in January of aiding an Iranian sanctions evasion scheme objected to a recommendation to a judge that he receive a 105-year prison sentence, saying it wasn’t justified.

Lawyers for the banker, Mehmet Hakan Atilla, filed a 62-page document on Monday disputing several findings of the U.S. Probation Department, which reviewed the evidence and made a sentencing recommendation to the judge.

The Probation Department recommended the 105-year sentence on the basis of U.S. sentencing guidelines. But Atilla’s lawyers said he was merely a cog in a laundering scheme masterminded by gold trader Reza Zarrab and did not deserve the life sentence.

“The recommendation is draconian and completely unjustified,” defense lawyers wrote.

Atilla, who will be sentenced May 16, has previously objected to the recommendation and asked for a sentence of less than five years. In their own submissions, prosecutors said sentences of 20 years have been imposed in similar cases, and suggested a term of no less than 15 years.

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