Halkbank gives no timeframe for resumption of borrowing

Turkey’s state-run Halkbank, embroiled in a scandal over allegations of U.S. sanctions-busting, has declined to provide details about when it might resume borrowing on international markets.

The bank will secure syndicated loans and issue foreign currency bonds when the conditions are right, it said in a statement to Reuters on Wednesday. The company has not issued a Eurobond since June 2016. It did not rollover its last syndicated loan in July 2017.

“According to our bank’s 2018 growth strategy and funding plans, debt instruments such as foreign currency bonds and syndication loans may come onto our agenda when appropriate conditions are achieved,” the bank said in a written response to Reuters’ questions. It did not clarify what the conditions were, Reuters said.

Earlier this month, a New York jury found Halkbank deputy CEO Mehmet Hakan Atilla guilty of bank fraud and involvement in a scheme to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran. The prosecution’s star witness, Iranian-Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab, also implicated former CEO Suleyman Aslan and Turkish ministers in the scandal.

While Halkbank denies it has broken international banking laws, U.S. authorities are considering what sanctions they may levy against the Istanbul-based lender.

Halkbank will continue to focus on lira funding sources and will also provide loans to small and medium-sized enterprises, in line with its growth strategy, it said.

“Our bank will continue to use current financing opportunities from correspondent banks with bilateral agreements and international investment and development banks effectively, as well as new capital market instruments,” it told the news agency.

Halkbank also said that, as of this month, it had allocated about $7.6 billion in project financing loans for 63 projects and distributed loans for Turkey’s planned North Marmara Highway Project.