Prison guard pleads guilty in Turkey-related bribery case

August 24, 2018 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal prison guard in New York has pleaded guilty to taking over $25,000 in cash bribes to smuggle cellphones, alcohol and food to a wealthy Turkish gold trader who was awaiting trial.

Victor Casado entered the plea in Manhattan federal court Friday. He said he knew what he was doing was wrong. Sentencing was set for Jan. 11.

The trader — Reza Zarrab — later pleaded guilty in a cooperation deal and testified against a Turkish banker who was convicted at trial. The prosecution strained U.S.-Turkey relations as officials in Turkey called the trial a charade aimed at discrediting the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Zarrab was arrested in 2016. Previously, he had lived in Istanbul with his wife, Turkish pop star and TV personality Ebru Gundes.