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Federal prosecutors charge Giuliani-tied Turkish bank with scheme to violate US sanctions on Iran

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On Tuesday, federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York announced charges against a Turkish bank for fraud, money laundering, and a scheme to circumvent U.S. sanctions on Iran.

“As alleged in today’s indictment, Halkbank’s systemic participation in the illicit movement of billions of dollars’ worth of Iranian oil revenue was designed and executed by senior bank officials,” said U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman. “The bank’s audacious conduct was supported and protected by high-ranking Turkish government officials, some of whom received millions of dollars in bribes to promote and protect the scheme. Halkbank will now have to answer for its conduct in an American court.”

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These charges come as new scrutiny falls on Reza Zarrab, the Turkish-Iranian gold trader who was convicted of bribery as part of the Halkbank scheme. Rudy Giuliani previously acted as counsel for Zarrab and, at his urging in 2017, President Donald Trump tried to get then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to relay to the Justice Department not to pursue the case. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has also leaned on both Trump and former President Barack Obama to drop the Halkbank investigation.

Halkbank also made news recently after Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told a prank caller pretending to represent the Turkish government that Trump was willing to help them with the investigation.


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Florida nurses bust Ron DeSantis for dismissing COVID-19 explosion as a ‘blip’

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The coronavirus pandemic is growing worse in Florida, but Gov. Ron DeSantis insists the explosion in cases is just a "blip."

The state recorded more than 15,300 new cases Sunday, and the positivity rate had exploded to 11.25 percent -- a 56-percent jump from a month ago -- but DeSantis disagrees with medical providers who warn the worst is yet to come, reported The Daily Beast.

“We’ve got the census today," DeSantis said Friday, before the weekend's dire numbers. "I think between 10 and 12 or 13,000 — somewhere like that — beds are available. There’ll be articles saying, ‘Oh, my gosh. They’re at 90 percent.’ Well, that’s how hospitals normally run.”

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Rest in pieces, Redskins. Now here are sports’ other weird, dumb or suspect nicknames

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They are out there. Fans of the Washington football club formerly known as “Redskins” who are genuinely upset that their team is burying some of its tradition and heritage with the nickname change that the franchise officially announced Monday was coming.Which invites the question: Can you be indignant and angry while simultaneously wearing a rubber hog’s nose strapped on your face?Oft times elements of tradition and heritage are lousy things to celebrate. Slavery, for example.Fans angry at the disappearance of Redskins show the same misplaced outrage you see from folks attaching great signifi... (more…)

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Roger Stone, coronavirus and the upcoming months that may destroy America as we know it

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From the Electoral College to structural racism, America is feeling painfully aware of its inherent flaws these days. None looms more ominously now than that awkward moment that is the presidential transition. In the momentous winter of 1860-61, the United States literally split in two during the haze between the failed presidency of Pennsylvania’s James Buchanan and the first-ever Republican administration of Abraham Lincoln that terrified the slave-addled South.Now consider this scenario: A seemingly unending crisis has ripped millions of jobs from the U.S. economy, with a growing homelessne... (more…)

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