EBRD objects to appointment of former Halkbank director to Istanbul stock exchange

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a 10-percent stakeholder in Turkey’s main stock exchange Borsa Istanbul, on Tuesday announced its opposition to former jailed Halkbank director Hakan Atilla’s appointment as chief executive.

“We were not consulted, and we do not support it,” Reuters quoted EBRD managing director for communications Jonathan Charles as saying.

Atilla’s appointment was announced by Turkey’s Finance and Treasury Minister Berat Albayrak via a Twitter message on Monday.

“The resting period for Hakan Atilla, who was reunited with his family and country following an unjust conviction, is over. He will start his duty as Borsa Istanbul’s Director General,” the minister had said.

Atilla served 32 months in prison in the United States for helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions, returning to Turkey following his release in July.

A federal court in Manhattan indicted Halkbank on Oct. 15 with fraud, money laundering and involvement in a sanctions evasion scheme by Iran, and a U.S. Department of Justice statement announcing the indictment said Atilla’s trial had helped establish the bank’s connections to the multi-billion-dollar scheme.

Ankara and EBRD have had issues regarding projects, promises and appointments such as Atilla’s for a couple of years, Reuters quoted an unnamed source close to the EBRD as saying. 

Atilla’s appointment was “actually highlighting the issues that have accumulated,” according to the source.