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Turkey's Erdogan calls US charges against Halkbank ‘illegal’

Published: Updated:

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the US decision to charge Turkish lender Halkbank with fraud is an “illegal, ugly” step, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

US federal prosecutors in New York charged Turkey’s Halkbank with fraud, money laundering, and sanctions offenses related to the bank’s alleged participation in a multi-billion-dollar scheme to evade US sanctions on Iran.

US prosecutors on Tuesday said that high-ranking Turkish government officials received millions of dollars in bribes to promote and protect Halkbank’s scheme to evade US sanctions.

The prosecutors accused Halkbank and its officers of using businesses in Iran, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates to bypass sanctions on oil, gas, and gold supplies to Iran, allege prosecutors.