Preet Bharara, Joon H. Kim accused of using documents from previous probes in Turkey for building case against Turks in US
Turkey has launched a probe into two American lawyers, including a former attorney and a current attorney in the U.S. who are currently involved in a case against Turkish citizens in New York.
The Public Prosecutor's Office in Istanbul on Saturday accused former U.S. attorney Preet Bharara and current U.S. attorney Joon H. Kim for the southern district of New York of using information and documents from previous investigations in Turkey for an ongoing case in the U.S.
The U.S. lawyers had obtained some voice recordings and other fake documents from unknown persons instead of official channels -- a move contrary to international law -- for building their case against Turkish citizens in America, according to Istanbul Public Prosecutor's Office.
The Istanbul office also cited an affidavit issued by Cathy Fleming -- a lawyer of Turkish banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla -- at the Southern District Court of New York on Oct. 30, 2017, that said the documents and evidence presented to in the case “are stolen, fraudulent and unqualified in nature”.
Atilla, deputy general manager of Turkey’s Halkbank, was arrested in the U.S. for alleged violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran.
“After obtaining the 15-page affidavit from the U.S. judicial system, an investigation has been launched on how and from whom the documents were obtained, and what is the nature of the documents,” it said.
Turkish Justice Ministry had not provided any document, context or voice recording to the U.S. legal authority for the cases against Turkish citizens, according to the Istanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office.
The Istanbul office also sent an official letter to Turkish Justice Ministry on Nov. 17 asking “how and when the documents, voice records and context were obtained; what is the identity of the person or the persons who have provided these documents; where are the person or persons who provided the documents and what is the context of the written statement?"
The Istanbul office added: “In this context, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Turkish Criminal Code, investigations have been initiated against former prosecutor of the New York Southern District, Preet Bharara, and prosecutor Joon H. Kim and other prosecutorial officers due to these actions which are clearly contrary to international and domestic law.”
Bharara, who had launched a probe against Turkish businessman Riza Sarraf, was fired on March 11.
Joon H. Kim is the acting United States Attorney for the southern district of New York.