On 16 May 2018, Turkey’s state-controlled bank Halkbank’s deputy general manager (Mehmet Hakan Atilla) was sentenced following a January 2018 conviction for helping Iran evade US sanctions. He helped Iran spend oil money abroad using fake gold and food transactions as cover. The central figure in the scheme was a Turkish-Iranian gold trader (Reza Zarrab) who said that he bribed Turkish officials.
Other reports indicate that the deputy general manager was following the directions of the bank’s chief executive, Suleyman Aslan.
Analysis: This case demonstrates how critical it can be for successful sanctions-evasions schemes to have the support of senior managers within a bank, highlighting the level of complicity often required to successfully execute these plans. Halkbank is widely expected to face significant sanctions from the US.