Halkbank seeks immunity in US Iran sanctions evasion case

Turkey's Halkbank faced skepticism at a U.S. appeals court on Wednesday as it argued for immunity to avoid criminal charges for allegedly helping Iran circumvent American sanctions.

Publication: 29.02.2024 - 12:10
Halkbank seeks immunity in US Iran sanctions evasion case
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The state-owned bank, pleading not guilty to charges including bank fraud and money laundering, contends it is protected by common law principles against the U.S. indictment.

During the hearing at the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan, Halkbank's legal team insisted on dismissal based on centuries-old immunity norms, while the Department of Justice maintained such decisions align with executive branch prerogatives on foreign policy. The judges questioned the bank's immunity claim, highlighting the rarity of such a defense and the serious allegations of participating in a scheme to launder billions of dollars for Iran's benefit.

This legal battle has strained U.S.-Turkey relations, with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan condemning the charges. The outcome, pending the appeals court's decision, could redefine the boundaries of foreign sovereign immunity in the context of U.S. criminal law.

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