U.S. probe of Turkey’s Halkbank continues - official

The U.S. Treasury is continuing an investigation into Turkey’s Halkbank for possible violations of sanctions on Iran, Habertürk newspaper reported.

U.S. prosecutors could also start legal proceedings against the bank should they deem that appropriate, Habertürk said on Thursday, citing an unidentified U.S. official.

“It is difficult to say what will happen next. Officials of the independent judiciary will decide whether or not to open a case,” the official said. 

“The Treasury will also conclude its investigation. These are completely separate issues,” the official said.  “These things take time. It’s nothing unusual.”

While President Donald Trump may be able to influence the Treasury, he cannot do the same to the courts, which are completely independent of political control, the official said. 

The U.S. investigation of Halkbank remains a key stumbling block in further improving ties between the two NATO allies.

A New York jury jailed Mehmet Hakan Atilla, a deputy CEO of the bank, in January, for his role in the scheme, which allegedly involved bank transfers and falsified paperwork.