Jan 15 2018

Turkish minister says Halkbank fine payment is conditional

Mehmet Şimşek, deputy prime minister in charge of the economy, said Turkey’s willingness to pay a likely U.S. fine on state-run Halkbank would be dependent on whether the country sees the punishment as “reasonable” or "political".

Şimşek made the comments in a presentation to investors in London on Monday, according to Tim Ash, senior emerging markets strategist at hedge fund, BlueBay Asset Management.

The government will only provide financial support to the bank should it require an equity injection, Şimşek reportedly said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ministers have slammed a New York court case and guilty verdict against Halkbank deputy CEO Mehmet Hakan Atilla as an attempt to destabilise the government. The New York jury reached the decision in early January after hearing witness testimony that also implicated the bank’s CEO and Erdogan himself.

U.S. judgements against banks for evading sanctions have ranged from small financial penalties to the $8.9 billion levied against French bank BNP Paribas in 2015.