The Second Circuit of the US Court of Appeals granted a temporary administrative stay of proceedings against Turkiye Halk Bankasi A.S. (Halkbank), a Turkish government-owned lender that was charged in October 2019 with helping Iran access billions of dollars from accounts that were frozen as a result of US sanctions against Iran. The superseding indictment alleges that the bank knowingly facilitated a multi-year scheme to evade US sanctions, using money service businesses and front companies in Iran, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates to allow Iran access to the proceeds of oil and gas sales to Turkey’s national oil and gas company and other purchasers.
In December, Halkbank filed a petition for mandamus, and moved simultaneously for a stay of the proceedings pending the court’s determination on its petition for mandamus. On December 26, 2019, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York denied Halkbank’s motion to stay the proceedings.
Halkbank appealed the denial to the Second Circuit, which granted a temporary stay of proceedings to allow a three-judge panel in the Second Circuit to rule on Halkbank’s motion to dismiss. Hearing on the motion has been scheduled for February 18, 2020.