(April 2, 2020 / JNS) Turkish state bank Halkbank pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to U.S. charges of evading U.S. sanctions on Iran.
The plea was entered by the company’s lawyer, Robert Cary, in an arraignment conducted by U.S. District Judge Richard Berman in Manhattan by teleconference as many in-person hearings have been halted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The illicit funds came from sales from Iran’s national oil company in which the bank administered transactions designed to appear to be purchases of medicine and food by Iranian customers, in accordance with the so-called “humanitarian exception” that’s related to the sanctions.
Turkey has denied the charges, which, along with evading sanctions, include fraud and money-laundering.
The bank was indicted in October after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan persuaded U.S. President Donald Trump to ask U.S. Attorney General William Barr and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to strike a deal with the bank to avoid charges, which ended up being unsuccessful.
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