The United States Department of Justice announced the October 15, 2019 indictment of TÜRKİYE HALK BANKASI A.S. (Halkbank) on charges of fraud, money laundering and sanctions violations. According to the indictment, Halkbank used front companies in Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Iran to allow Iran to access the US financial system and evade restrictions on the use of oil and gas revenue, and on the supply of gold to the government of Iran. The indictment alleges that Halbank, a Turkish state-owned bank, committed these acts knowingly, and conspired to undermine Iran sanctions by enabling Iran to access billions of dollars through deceptive actions designed to deceive US regulators and protect itself from US sanctions.
Nine individuals have been charged in connection with Halbank’s actions, including the former Turkish Minister of the Economy, and the former deputy general manager of Halkbank. The latter was convicted by a jury in January 2018, and on October 26, 2017, one of those charged pleaded guilty to a seven count information including violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and money laundering. The other seven defendants remain at large.