Halkbank Not Immune From Sanctions Charge, 2nd Circ. Says

By Jack Queen (October 22, 2021, 7:19 PM EDT) -- Turkey's state-backed lender Halkbank is not immune from sanctions-evasion charges, the Second Circuit found Friday in a decision that paves the way for a highly anticipated trial over an alleged $20 billion money-laundering scheme implicating top Turkish officials.

A three-judge panel ruled that even if sovereign immunity laws shield Halkbank from prosecution, the bank's alleged money laundering on behalf of Iran falls under a commercial activity exception. The U.S. government accuses Halkbank of converting Iranian oil money into gold and disguising transactions as purchases of food and medicine to avoid running afoul of sanctions against Iran.

"Even assuming [the Foreign Sovereign...

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