Turkey’s Halkbank shares surge by 8 pct after firing of US prosecutor in sanctions case

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A photo shows the logo of the Turkish Halkbank on December 2, 2017 in Istanbul. AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

Shares in Turkish state lender Halkbank surged 8 percent on Monday after US Attorney in Manhattan Geoffrey Berman, who was overseeing a court case against the bank, was fired by President Donald Trump over the weekend, according to Reuters.

US prosecutors allege that from 2012 to 2016, Halkbank and its executives used money servicers and front companies in Iran, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates to evade US sanctions on Iran.

Former US National Security Adviser John Bolton last week claimed that President Donald Trump agreed to intervene in the Halkbank case at the request of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, according to Middle East Eye.

Two men with close ties to Erdoğan’s inner circle – Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab and Halkbank’s former deputy chief executive, Hakan Atilla – were charged with conspiring to violate US sanctions against Iran and other offenses.

Atilla was convicted of the charges in Federal Court in New York.

Before signing a plea deal with prosecutors, Zarrab is reported to have hired Rudy Giuliani, a longtime associate of Trump, to try to negotiate a deal between the US and Turkish governments to secure his release.

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