Halkbank, the large Turkish state-owned bank that has been accused in the US of substantial sanctions violations, has pleaded not guilty at a Manhattan court to criminal charges that it helped Iranian entities illicitly transfer tens of billions of dollars in a scheme that used trade-based financial crimes to evade sanctions.

In February Halkbank agreed to appear in Manhattan federal court for arraignment after refusing to appear for months to face charges stemming from allegations that its officers helped dual Iranian-Turkish national gold trader, Reza Zarrab, “use US financial institutions to engage in prohibited financial transactions that illegally funnelled millions of dollars to Iran”.

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