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08 December 2017, 04:07 | Devin Moran
Detained Azerbaijani businessman Reza Zarrab is surrounded by journalists as he arrives at a police center in Istanbul
A Turkish gold trader testifying in a politically charged case over Iran sanctions sodomized his cellmate with a cucumber and repeatedly raped him, a new lawsuit charges.
Zarrab testified that he never paid Atilla a bribe and that Atilla never asked him for money.
Zarrab said that after the encounter, he was transferred from Brooklyn, New York's Metropolitan Detention Center to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Reza Zarrab, who has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with US prosecutors in the case, also said he had complained about Halkbank deputy general manager Mehmet Hakan Atilla to Atilla's former superior on multiple occasions.
Zarrab said that the man acknowledged coming after him because he had flipped to the US government.
U.S. authorities arrested Zarrab in March 2016 when he entered the United States with his wife, his daughter and four other people for a trip to Disney World.
Media reported on Dec 6 that Turkish police has detained at least 17 people including Zarrab's three employees who allegedly sent documents to the USA for the businessman's case in NY.
The banker, Mehmet Hakan Atilla, has pleaded not guilty and his lawyers say he accepted no bribes and did not break the law.
Since Zarrab became a witness, deputy chief executive of Turkish lender Halkbank Mehmet Hakan Atilla has become the lone defendant in the dock accused of violating sanctions, bribery and money laundering.
He said he also bribed him with a watch and a piano. On Thursday CNN Turk said Erdogan had said Turkey did not violate USA sanctions. The sexual assaults continued, until the other inmate eventually "had the courage" to complain to staff and Zarrab was moved to another unit, the complaint says.
Zarrab said the inmate pulled a knife out and said, "He had received instructions to kill because I was cooperating".
Newly released from prison, Zarrab said, he considered starting "to trade again" at Halkbank.
Atilla's defense team has said he is "not corrupt".
Zarrab's testimony likely will win him leniency against charges that otherwise could carry a prison term of up to 130 years. Zarrab said he used the guard's phone to speak with his wife, daughter and lawyer.
The man claims Zarrab befriended him, paid for his lawyer, put money into the man's jailhouse account and wired money to his family in Africa - and then began talking suggestively.
Once they were cellmates, Zarrab "started telling Plaintiff that he likes having sex with both men and women", Jaber's suit reads.
The inmate, who is in his early 60s, "felt helpless and unable to fight off the younger and stronger" man, the suit says, adding that the inmate was also "too scared and embarrassed at that time to complain or to seek help".
Ben Brafman, an attorney for Zarrab, said his client "categorically denies the allegation and intends to vigorously defend against the lawsuit".
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