Turkey’s ex-Halkbank manager released after completing sentence for breaking Iran sanctions

Mehmet Hakan Atilla, a former executive at Turkey's state-run Halkbank, has been released from prison in United States after serving a 32-month sentence for his role in a scheme to bypass U.S. sanctions on Iran, Anadolu Agency reported on Friday. 

Atilla, the former deputy director general at the Turkish state-lender, was arrested in March 2017 in New York and was found guilty in January 2018 for his role in a scheme to bypass U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Evidence provided by the prosecution in the New York trial of Atilla alleged that senior Turkish officials, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, knew of the scheme. Erdoğan said Atilla was completely innocent of the charges and branded the trial as a conspiracy against his government.

Atilla was sentenced in May 2018 to 32 months in prison, but the judge allowed the time he had served after being arrested to be deducted from the sentence. Atilla’s release was scheduled for July 15, but a person familiar with the case told Anadolu last month that he might be free earlier for good behaviour.