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US releases former Turkish banking executive

Mehmet Hakan Atilla had been in custody since March 2017 in US for allegedly violating sanctions on Iran

Beyza Binnur Donmez   | 19.07.2019
US releases former Turkish banking executive


A former Turkish banking executive was released Friday from a federal U.S. prison.

Hakan Atilla, 48, the former deputy director general at Turkish state lender Halkbank, was sentenced on May 2018 in New York for violating U.S. sanctions on Iran.

However, the judge allowed the time he had served after being arrested a year earlier to be credited in the sentence, and his release today was announced earlier due to good behavior.

It is reported that Atilla was directed to a migration office for repatriation following his release. He is expected to land in Turkey next week.

When Atilla was convicted, Turkey blasted the verdict as “a scandalous decision in a scandalous case” and “a conspiracy aimed at complicating Turkey’s internal politics and intervening in Turkey’s internal affairs." 

Atilla’s arrest came after Turkish businessman Reza Sarraf was arrested in 2016 in the U.S. for violating sanctions on Iran.

Cooperating with prosecutors, he gave testimony against Atilla which was used to convict the banker.

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