Turkish banker released from US prison in sanctions case

NEW YORK (AP) — A Turkish banker convicted of helping Iran evade economic sanctions has been released from a U.S. prison.

An attorney for Mehmet Hakan Atilla said Tuesday he has been taken into U.S. immigration custody to await deportation.

Atilla was convicted in 2018 in a scheme that allowed Iran to launder billions of dollars in oil proceeds through world markets.

Prosecutors said Atilla used his position at the state bank Halkbank to further the conspiracy and help Iran avoid U.S. sanctions.

They said some of the money moved through U.S. financial institutions without their knowledge.

The trial strained Turkish-U.S. relations and featured testimony about corruption at the highest levels of the Turkish government.

A spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (REH’-jehp TY’-ihp UR’-doh-wahn) called the trial outcome a “scandalous verdict.”

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