Turkish bank charged with evading US sanctions on Iran

A major Turkish bank has been criminally charged in an indictment with participating in a multibillion-dollar scheme to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran.

The charges against Halkbank, a state-owned bank, were announced Tuesday by federal authorities.

In a release, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman says senior bank officials designed and carried out the scheme to move billions of dollars of Iranian oil revenue illegally.

He says the crimes were supported and protected by high-ranking Turkish government officials. Berman says some of them received millions of dollars in bribes to promote and protect the scheme.

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers called the crimes one of the most serious Iran sanctions violations his office has seen.

A representative of the bank could not immediately be reached for comment.

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