Halkbank shares surge in Istanbul on anticipation of Trump election win

Shares of Turkey’s state-run Halkbank jumped in Istanbul trading on Wednesday as investors bet on a win for President Donald Trump in U.S. elections.

Halkbank is facing criminal proceedings in the United States for its alleged involvement in a scheme to help Iran evade U.S. sanctions. Trump had sought to intervene to block the legal case at the request of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, according to ex-employees of the White House including Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton.

Shares in the bank rose 3.7 percent to 5.07 liras in Istanbul as of 11:08 a.m. local time.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Trump sought to claim a win in Tuesday’s elections even as vote-counting in several states continued. Democrat candidate Joe Biden led Trump by 220 electoral college votes to 213 with the results of 10 states still to be announced.

“We didn’t win it, we won it by a lot,” Trump told reporters, saying he would go to the Supreme Court should official results show him as the loser.

Halkbank is controlled by Turkey’s sovereign wealth fund, which is chaired by Erdoğan. It has played a key role in providing cheap lending to cash-strapped consumers and businessmen since a currency crisis in 2018.

Any U.S. court ruling against the bank could result in billions of dollars of fines.

The lira, which has lost almost 30 percent of its value this year, dropped 1.1 percent to 8.49 liras in Istanbul trading.