ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish shares of Halkbank rose more than 8% on Monday after a U.S. appeals court stayed its federal government prosecution for allegedly helping Iran evade US sanctions, while the bank is appealing to the US Supreme Court.
Halkbank shares were up 8.5% at 5.59 lira at 0727 GMT.
“The Bank plans to file a petition with the United States Supreme Court,” Halkbank said in a statement to the Istanbul Stock Exchange. “Proceedings in the district court will be suspended until the process in the Supreme Court is completed,” he said.
The US Department of Justice had opposed a delay, saying Halkbank’s “baseless” allegations did not raise “substantial” issues or preclude the public interest in a speedy trial.
Halkbank has pleaded not guilty to bank fraud, money laundering and conspiracy for its alleged use of fund managers and front companies in Iran, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates to evade sanctions.
His alleged misconduct includes helping Iran secretly transfer $20 billion in restricted funds, including $1 billion laundered through the US financial system, and converting oil revenues into gold and then cash for Iranian interests. .
In an Oct. 22 ruling, the 2nd Circuit said Halkbank could be sued because its alleged misconduct involved business activity that was not covered by sovereign immunity.
Halkbank said the ruling conflicts with Supreme Court precedents because it “gives a green light to the first criminal trial of a foreign ruler in the country’s history.”
He also said he would suffer irreparable harm if forced to defend himself against “a matter from which he is immune”.
The Supreme Court rejects most of the appeals. During his last term, he received 5,307 depositions and heard arguments in 72 cases.
(Reporting by Berna Suleymanoglu; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Jonathan Spicer)
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