Federal prosecutors have charged a Turkish bank with undermining U.S. sanctions against Iran in a scheme that they say was aided by high-ranking officials in both countries, some of whom received tens of millions of dollars in bribes.
Prosecutors allege in the new indictment that from about 2012 to 2016, Halkbank and its senior officers used front companies in Iran, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates and made “illicit transactions” that should have exposed the bank to sanctions under U.S. law. That allowed them to transfer about $20 billion of what should have been restricted Iranian funds. Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers called the case “one of the most serious Iran sanctions violations we have seen.”
Officials in Iran and Turkey, meanwhile, lined their pockets with tens of millions of dollars to shield those involved from U.S. regulators, prosecutors allege.
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