Court: Turkish Halkbank To Be Charged In Iran Sanctions Case

NEW YORK: A Turkish bank must face criminal charges that it evaded sanctions against Iran by processing billions of dollars of Iranian oil revenue, an appeals court ruled Friday.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a decision by U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman.

An indictment returned in 2019 said the bank illegally moved about $20 billion in Iranian oil and gas revenues. It also said the state-owned bank sometimes disguised money movements as purchases of food and medicine so theyd qualify for a humanitarian exception to sanctions.

A lawyer for Halkbank declined to comment on the ruling.

In a decision written by Circuit Judge Jose A. Cabranes, a three-judge panel concluded that assertions that Halkbank was protected from prosecution by immunity given to foreign sovereigns through the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act is overcome by an exception for crimes committed during commercial activity.

Although the bank was not charged until two years ago, the allegations involving it surfaced in 2015 when a wealthy Turkish-Iranian gold trader was arrested on sanctions charges as he arrived in the U.S. to take his family to Disney World in Florida.

The trader Reza Zarrab eventually testified he paid over $50 million in bribes to a former Turkish finance minister to help a sanction-busting scheme prosecutors say was run by Halkbanks deputy general manager for international banking, Mehmet Hakan Atilla.

Prosecutors maintained that Atilla used his position to help build and protect the scheme that enabled billions of dollars in profits from Iranian oil sales to flow through world financial markets since 2011.

Atilla was convicted of five of six criminal charges against him, including conspiring to defraud the U.S., bank fraud and conspiracy to violate sanctions against Iran.

Zarrab hired Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor, to try to broker a deal between Turkeys president and the U.S. government to resolve the charges. The talks in 2017 failed to result in a deal.

Zarrab eventually cooperated and testified against Atilla at his trial. Atilla was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison.

After Atillas release from a U.S. prison, he returned to Turkey.

The earlier prosecution against Zarrab and Atilla and the current case against Halkbank has further strained ties between the two countries.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor

Read all the Latest News, Breaking News and Coronavirus News here. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Telegram.

For all the latest world News Click Here 

Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! TechAI is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.