The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has opposed the Turkish government’s decision to appoint Hakan Atilla, a former Halkbank executive who was jailed in the US, as the Chief Executive of Borsa Istanbul in which the lender has a big stake.
Jonathan Charles, EBRD’s Managing Director for Communications, said that EBRD was not consulted and does not support the appointment, adding that the lender would seek to discuss the matter with Turkish authorities.
The former Halkbank executive was convicted by a New York court in early 2018 on allegations of helping Iran evade economic sanctions on billions of dollars of oil revenue. Atilla served 28 months in a US prison and received a hero’s welcome from government officials on his release.
“This is a great day, our brother Hakan has returned home unscathed and he will have a good holiday, rest—hopefully we will talk again in the coming days,” said Albayrak. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan telephoned Atilla upon his arrival back in Turkey.
The EBRD holds a 10 per cent stake in Borsa Istanbul, the 15th largest exchange in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Last week US prosecutors charged Halkbank, Turkey’s second-largest state-owned bank, with taking part in a multibillion-dollar scheme to evade sanctions on Iran.
Halkbank dismissed the charges as part of broader US sanctions over Turkey’s two-week-old offensive against Kurdish-led forces in northeast Syria, reported Reuters.