From our old post in 2017: Erdogan Rages Against the U.S. Ambassador to Ankara — What’s That About?
On March 19, 2016, Reza Zarrab an Iranian-Turkish citizen was arrested for allegedly engaging in hundreds of millions of dollars of transactions on behalf of the Government of Iran and Iranian entities as part of a scheme to evade U.S. sanctions (Download u.s._v._zarab_et_al_indictment.pdf).
On March 28, 2017, Mehmet Hakan Atilla, a Turkish banker was also arrested and charged for alleged conspiracies to violate the IEEPA and to commit bank fraud (Download US v. Mehmet Hakan Atilla complaint.pdf).
On September 6, 2017 DOJ announced the Superseding Indictment alleging that nine defendants (including a former Turkish Minister of the Economy (currently serving in Turkish Parliament), and a former General Manager Of Turkish Government-Owned Bank), “conspired to lie to U.S. Government officials about international financial transactions for the Government of Iran and used the U.S. financial system to launder bribes paid to conceal the scheme.”
In November 2017, NBC News also reported that Zarrab began cooperating with federal prosecutors in a money-laundering case.
According to avhal, the Turkish banker, Hakan Atilla served 32 months in prison in the United States for helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions, and was released on July 19 this year. On October 21, 2019, Turkey’s Finance and Treasury Minister Berat Albayrak (and Erdogan’s son-in-law) announced that the former Halkbank director has been appointed as the director general of Borsa Istanbul, Turkey’s main stock exchange.
On October 15, USDOJ announced that TÜRKİYE HALK BANKASI A.S., a/k/a “Halkbank,” was charged in a six-count Indictment with fraud, money laundering, and sanctions offenses related to the bank’s participation in a multibillion-dollar scheme to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran.
On October 24, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon announced that he is launching an investigation into the Halkbank scandal.
Courthouse News Service Adam Klasfeld who has covered this case extensively notes in his October 22 report that “Turkey continued to hold three U.S. consulate workers in captivity with relative silence from the White House, and Halkbank kept an indictment at bay for more than two years, even after its ex-general manager Suleyman Aslan and executive Atilla had been charged with the multibillion-dollar conspiracy.”
Back in 2017, we thought this thriller which started out actually in 2013 (see the New Yorker’s Dexter Filkins piece, A Mysterious Case Involving Turkey, Iran, and Rudy Giuliani) — with a cargo plane from Accra, Ghana, which was diverted to Istanbul’s main international airport, because of fog, and three thousand pounds of gold bars — was going to unravel under the glare of sunlight, but here we are in 2019. So now we wait for the next episodes.
- U.S. Mission Turkey Representatives, Lawyer Not Allowed to See Jailed Turkish Employee
- Turkey Arrests U.S.Consulate General Istanbul Local Employee Metin Topuz on “Terror Charges”
- U.S. Mission Turkey Suspends All Non-Immigrant Visa Services Over Latest Arrest of Local Employee
Turkish Bank Charged in Manhattan Federal Court for Its Participation in a Multibillion-Dollar Iranian Sanctions Evasion Scheme https://t.co/uSx8pbRCD1
— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) October 15, 2019
At key times, Turkey & Halkbank's old firm, led by Trump's top Fla fundraiser, lobbied:
* Pence's chief of staff (meeting)
* Trump's deputy (meeting), assistant (call), & attorney Jay Sekulow (phone/text)
* Top State & Treasury officials.
Names inside: https://t.co/qhss54nW98
— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) October 23, 2019
NEWS: I’m launching an investigation into the Halkbank scandal including whether Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani and President Erdogan worked to help the state-owned Turkish bank avoid criminal prosecution for exploiting U.S. financial institutions and engaging in money-laundering. https://t.co/qffleyJfQG
— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) October 24, 2019
A Turkish consulate posted this on the last day of the conference at Trump's hotel:
White House meeting with Trump, his son-in-law Kushner, Erdogan's son-in-law Albayrak, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, whose agency had probed Zarrab and Halkbank. https://t.co/XmVaQkdJIg
— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) October 21, 2019
Scoop: Inside an unusual intervention by a president to get his top Cabinet officials involved in an active federal investigation.@nwadhams, @SalehaMohsin and mehttps://t.co/O0E25sJoC6
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) October 16, 2019
Background on the Halkbank indictment from last week: https://t.co/D5wvWMYp84
— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) October 22, 2019
Dexter Filkins sensed something was amiss when wrote about the mysterious case involving Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian businessman, a few years ago. https://t.co/8ZK7AZ0X6v @washingtonpost filled out some details yesterday. https://t.co/Mz8upkrPU4
— Michael Luo (@michaelluo) October 11, 2019