Judge finds Turkish bank lawyers elusive in sanctions case

NEW YORK (AP) — A Turkish bank charged with evading U.S. sanctions on Iran sent its lawyers into a New York courtroom with a seemingly impossible task: Defend us, as best as you can. But don’t acknowledge that you represent us. Don’t say we are aware of the charges. And don’t enter a plea on our behalf.

U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman called the legal maneuvers “kind of crazy” Tuesday. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Lockhard said it created an “air of gamesmanship.”

But attorney Drew Hruska, representing the state-owned Halkbank, said he’s just protecting his client.

An American court, he argued, doesn’t have jurisdiction over a bank that doesn’t do U.S. business. So he says the bank is disinclined to participate in the criminal proceedings or formally acknowledge it knows of the case.

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