U.S. seeking millions in contempt fines against Turkey's Halkbank

(Edited to reflect SDNY clarification of fines, updates with Geoffrey Berman's comments in third paragraph)

Geoffrey Berman, the New York South District U.S. Attorney, has asked the court on Tuesday to fine Turkey’s state-owned Halkbank for every day it dodges the proceeding over a money-laundering scheme. 

According to the memorandum, the prosecutor is asking for a fine of $1 million per day that doubles every week Halkbank continues refusing to appear in the court. 

Berman called the bank's refusal to attend hearings “part of a long course of conduct by both the defendant itself and the defendant’s principal shareholder, the government of Turkey, aimed at obstructing the investigation,” the Financial Times said.

The District Court for the Southern District of New York indicted Halkbank on Oct. 16 with fraud, money laundering, and sanctions offences over the bank’s involvement in a historic scheme to circumvent the U.S. sanctions on Iran. 

U.S. District Judge Richard Berman threatened to hold Halkbank in contempt in December. The bank has to date refused to make a formal appearance in the court. 

You can reach the memorandum here.

The prosecution has clarified that the proposed fine will double each week, not daily.