Halkbank to appear in US court in sanctions case

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Turkish state lender Halkbank has agreed to enter a formal plea of not guilty to criminal charges that it helped Iran evade U.S. sanctions, backing down from its previous refusal to answer the allegations, a lawyer for the bank said Tuesday.

Turkish state lender Halkbank will be arraigned in a U.S. court next week to face a federal indictment for alleged evading Iran sanctions.

The bank was represented by the law firm of King & Spalding at a hearing Tuesday and attorneys said it agreed to appear at the proceedings.

Halkbank was charged in October with attempts to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran.

A court in early December denied Halkbank's request to make a "special and limited appearance" to have the case dropped without having to formally participate in the proceedings.

District Court Judge Richard Berman asked King and Spalding to have a written authorization from the bank to proceed.

Halkbank's arraignment is scheduled March 3.

In July, Hakan Atilla, 48, the former deputy director-general at the Turkish state lender, was released from a federal prison. He was sentenced in May 2018 in New York for violating U.S. sanctions on Iran.

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