Halkbank’s troubles have been mounting since the failed coup against Erdogan in 2016. AFP / OZAN KOSE
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The guilty verdict rendered by the Manhattan jury applies only to Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who headed international banking at Halkbank. But federal prosecutors presented a stream of evidence that they said showed that Atilla and other Turkish bankers helped Iran launder billions of dollars to evade U.S. financial sanctions.If the U.S. government finds that that bank engaged in wrongdoing, it could take a range of actions up to curbing the bank's ability to conduct transactions in U.S. dollars, the lifeline for any bank operating globally. The Treasury Department declined to comment, as did Turkey's Treasury.According to court testimony, senior Treasury officials met with Halkbank officials in Turkey and in Washington, D.C. in 2013 and 2014 to explain U.S. sanctions laws and express concern about Iran's attempts to evade those restrictions through oil transactions with Turkey.Two other Halkbank executives, including former CEO Suleyman Aslan, had also been charged, but only Atilla was tried, after he was arrested following a U.S. roadshow last year.
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