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Turkish banker moved to US immigration detention center

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A former Turkish banking executive who was released earlier Friday from a federal prison has been transferred to a U.S. immigration detention center for deportation, according to officials.

Officials Anadolu Agency contacted from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said Mehmet Hakan Atilla is now in York County Prison in Pennsylvania.

An official from the prison confirmed to Anadolu Agency that he was there but did not give further information as to when he would be deported due to security concerns.

Atilla will remain in custody with ICE as he awaits a ruling in his deportation case.

He is expected to be sent to Turkey next week.

Atilla, 48, the former deputy director general at Turkish state lender Halkbank, was arrested in March 2017 in New York for violating U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Last January, he was found guilty by a jury in New York on five counts related to conspiracy and bank fraud but was acquitted of money laundering.

He was sentenced in May 2018 to 32 months in prison in the U.S. for violating sanctions on Iran.

However, the judge allowed the time he served after being arrested to be credited in the sentence.

Turkey has repeatedly criticized his conviction, calling it "politically motivated".

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

Sarraf then cooperated with prosecutors and gave testimony against Atilla, which was used to convict the Turkish banker.

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