Turkish banker returns home after release from US jail

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Last year, the Turkish President called the US charges a political attack against his government, and the Foreign Minister added that the US Treasury should close the case as soon as possible.

Thursday 25, July 2019 BY KUDAKWASHE MUZORIWA

A Turkish banker who served a 32-month jail sentence in the US for helping Iran evade economic sanctions has returned to Istanbul where he was met by his family, bank chief executives and the country’s Treasury and Finance Minister.

According to a local daily, Hakan Atilla, the former Deputy Director-General at Turkiye Halk Bankasi, was convicted by a New York court of helping Iran evade economic sanctions on billions of dollars of oil revenue.

Atilla served 28 months for his part in a scheme masterminded by Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab, who pleaded guilty on the eve of trial and testified against him.

Berat Albayrak, the Turkish Treasury and Finance Minister, said, “This is a great day, thanks to Atilla, I have once again witnessed that this country raises such strong and good people.”

According to an official at the Treasury and Finance Ministry, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also called Atilla upon his arrival to welcome him.

Halkbank denies any wrongdoing, however the lender could still face US fines related to the case, though in recent months the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has been silent on the issue.

TAGS : Hakan Atilla, Turkiye Halk Bankasi, Berat Albayrak, OFAC, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

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