Turkish banks aren’t under investigation and U.S. authorities haven’t sent any information or documents to their Turkish counterparts, Mehmet Ali Akben, the head of the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency, or BDDK, told Bloomberg News by phone on Saturday.
His denial was in response to a report in the Haberturk newspaper, citing banking sources it didn’t name, saying six Turkish banks would face heavy penalties from U.S. authorities for alleged violations of sanctions related to their business with Iran. The penalties would likely run into the billions of dollars, according to the newspaper report.
“The news definitely does not reflect the truth,” Akben said. “There’s no investigation into Turkish banks. We have received no information or documents from the U.S.”
Akben said the Haberturk report violated Turkish banking laws, under which news organizations, analysts or commentators can face penalties for damaging the reputation of the nation’s banks.
Haberturk deleted the news from its website after Akben’s comments and the Turkish Capital Markets Board, or SPK, issued a statement that said it would take action under relevant legislation. The SPK said the news was based on rumors and should be disregarded.
Three executives from Turkey’s second-largest state bank, Turkiye Halk Bankasi AS, have been charged in the U.S. with various counts for violating sanctions on Iran and banking fraud. The bank itself hasn’t been charged with any crime. Halkbank denies any wrongdoing.
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