November 9, 2019
President Tayyip Erdogan says he will discuss the case of Turkish lender Halkbank with U.S. President Donald Trump during talks in Washington next week, broadcaster NTV and other media reported on Friday.
Prosecutors in New York on October 15 alleged the bank had protection from high-level Iranian and Turkish government officials as it engaged in widespread fraud and money laundering using a vast, complex network of front companies to help Tehran shift billions of dollars in oil revenue illegally.
Senior Halkbank management’s participated “in this brazen scheme to circumvent our nation’s Iran sanctions regime,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement.
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers said the violations were one of the most serious Iran sanctions violations his office has seen.
Prosecutors in particular said that between 2012 and 2016, the Turkish bank enabled Iran to spend proceeds from oil and gas sales on international markets in violation of U.S. sanctions.
Speaking on his flight home from a trip to Hungary, Erdogan told reporters he would discuss with Trump developments in Turkey’s offensive in northeast Syria. He said he would hold a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday to “form the basis” of his talks in Washington, according to media.
Erdogan’s upcoming trip to Washington has already led to some controversy in the United States, as many politicians and lawmakers are still fuming over Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria’s Kurdish region.