NEW YORK— Jurors are set to hear opening statements in the criminal trial of a Turkish bank executive, while questions are swirling about his onetime co-defendant, a wealthy Turkish-Iranian gold trader whose arrest caused a diplomatic stir.
The trader, Reza Zarrab, had been headed to trial with Turkish banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla Atilla in Manhattan federal court until he suddenly stopped appearing at pretrial hearings. That’s prompted speculation he could testify against Atilla.
Zarrab was absent again during jury selection Monday. The judge told prospective jurors that Atilla is the only defendant.
Attilla has pleaded not guilty to charges alleging he violated U.S. sanctions against Iran by processing hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of financial transactions for Iranian businesses or Iran’s government through American banks.
Opening statements are set for Tuesday.