Middle East

Former Turkish bank chief released from jail

(FILES) -- A file photo taken on December 21, 2013 shows students holding a banner bearing an image of a shoe box filled with cash, as a reference to what the media said were shoe boxes of cash found in the house of the Halkbank CEO, during a protest against corruption and the AK party (AKP) government in Ankara. AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN

ANKARA: Turkey's state-run news agency says a court has released from jail the former head of a state-owned bank pending trial on corruption charges.

Anadolu Agency says Suleyman Aslan, the former chief of Halkbank, was freed along with seven other people on Friday. They were among two dozen people arrested following a Dec. 17 police bribery and corruption probe that targeted people close to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government.

The sons of two government ministers and an Iranian businessman remain jailed.

Turkish news reports say police seized $4.5 million in cash stashed in shoe boxes from Aslan's home.

Erdogan insists the corruption probe is a conspiracy orchestrated by a movement led by a U.S.-based cleric to harm his government ahead of local elections in March.





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