US court grants temporary halt in prosecution of Turkey’s Halkbank: report

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Peole walk past a branch of Halkbank on December 1, 2017 in Istanbul. AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

A federal appeals court granted a temporary halt in the US prosecution of Turkish lender Halkbank over sanctions violation charges while it weighs other requests by the bank, Bloomberg reported on Monday.

Halkbank had previously sought to pursue a dismissal of the case without entering a plea on the charges. A judge denied the request, and the bank is appealing that ruling. A three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals will weigh the request on an expedited basis.

Prosecutors have deemed the bank a fugitive from justice, asking a judge to hold it in contempt and impose fines until it begins answering the charges.

Halkbank, which is owned by the Turkish government, was charged in October with helping Iran access billions of dollars in oil revenue that had been frozen in its accounts under US sanctions.

A senior bank executive was previously convicted in the case, and a money launderer pleaded guilty to charges of orchestrating the scheme.

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