NEW YORK — The latest at the New York trial of a Turkish banker accused of laundering Iranian oil money (all times local):

1:15 p.m.

A Turkish-Iranian gold trader says he overcame a banker’s fears he was too popular in Turkey to launder Iranian money by paying over $50 million in bribes to Turkey’s finance minister.

Reza Zarrab calmly described his 2012 encounters with one of Turkey’s most important public officials as he began testifying at a New York trial Wednesday. Zarrab, with an American flag behind him, says he became a U.S. government witness after lawyers trying to arrange a prisoner transfer to free him failed.

At the start of multi-day testimony, he showed he’s ready to name names and muddy reputations after admitting last month to seven crimes himself.

He’s testifying against a Turkish banker who’s pleaded not guilty to violating economic sanctions against Iran.


11:55 a.m.

A wealthy Turkish-Iranian gold trader has told a jury in New York that he began cooperating with U.S. authorities after he was unable to free himself through a prisoner exchange.

Reza Zarrab testified Wednesday that he helped Iran evade U.S. economic sanctions with help from Turkish banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla. He says he hired lawyers earlier this year to arrange a prisoner exchange with Turkey that could win his freedom but that failed. He says he began cooperating with the U.S. government after that.

He said he pleaded guilty last month to seven charges, including conspiracy, violating U.S. sanctions, bank fraud and money laundering.

The 34-year-old businessman with Iran and Turkish citizenship says he is currently detained by FBI agents.

Zarrab also identified Atilla in court as a co-conspirator. Atilla has pleaded not guilty.


10:45 a.m.

A soft-spoken wealthy Turkish-Iranian gold trader has begun testifying at a New York trial as prosecutors try to prove he helped Iran evade U.S. economic sanctions.

Reza Zarrab, wearing tan scrubs, testified Wednesday morning as a key witness against Turkish banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla. Court papers show Zarrab pleaded guilty last month to bank fraud, money laundering and other charges as part of a deal to testify.

Prosecutors say Zarrab and Atilla laundered Iranian oil money in violation of U.S. economic sanctions against Iran. They say the conspiracy involved bribes and kickbacks to high-level officials.

Atilla has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors had kept secret that Zarrab was cooperating in a bid for leniency. Atilla’s lawyer says the trial is about Zarrab’s crimes.


12:45 a.m.

A wealthy Turkish-Iranian gold trader is set to testify at a New York trial about how he helped Iran evade U.S. economic sanctions.

Prosecutors say Reza Zarrab likely will take the stand Wednesday and will be a key witness against Turkish banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla.

Court papers show Zarrab pleaded guilty last month to bank fraud, money laundering and other charges as part of a deal to testify.

Prosecutors say Zarrab and Atilla laundered Iranian oil money in violation of U.S. economic sanctions against Iran. They say the conspiracy involved bribes and kickbacks to high-level officials.

Atilla has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors had kept secret that Zarrab was cooperating in a bid for leniency. Atilla’s lawyer says the trial is about Zarrab’s crimes.