A view shows the logo of Halkbank at its headquarters in Atasehir, in the Asian part of Istanbul December 17, 2013. (Reuters)

October 16, 2019

Federal prosecutors in New York on Tuesday charged Turkey’s Halkbank (HALKB.IS) with taking part in a multibillion-dollar scheme to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran.

The charges against the majority state-owned bank mirror those against one of its former executives, Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who was found guilty and sentenced to prison after a trial in Manhattan federal court last year.

A U.S. lawyer for Halkbank did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Prosecutors said that between 2012 and 2016, Halkbank helped run a scheme that allowed Iran to spend proceeds from sales of its oil and gas on international markets, in violation of U.S. sanctions, using a complex web of front companies.

The scheme ran with the protection of high-ranking officials in Iran and Turkey, some of whom received tens of millions of dollars in bribes, the prosecutors said.

Reuters

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Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.