Turkey state-owned Halkbank is seeking to dismiss a US indictment against it for allegedly helping Iran evade sanctions on billions of dollars frozen in foreign accounts, reported Bloomberg.
Halkbank has refused to respond to the charges in court since the case was filed last month. The lender’s lawyer filed papers in federal court in Manhattan this week seeking special permission to seek the case’s dismissal. The lawyer also said that the bank would request the recusal of US District Judge Richard M. Berman, who presided over a previous trial on the matter and has been assigned the new case as well.
However, Hulkbank continues to refuse to accept a US legal summons or recognise the US court’s authority over it. In his filing, Andrew Hruska said that the US has no jurisdiction over Halkbank because the bank has no American physical presence or operations.
“The bank’s conduct alleged in the indictment has no connection to the US sufficient to create jurisdiction,” said Hruska.
Though the case against Halkbank was in the works for years, it languished amid a full-court press by Turkey to get the Trump administration to drop the charges.
The indictment was unsealed, along with a package of sanctions against the country, only after Turkey invaded Syria last month, leading Turkey and Halkbank to claim that the charges are politically motivated and without merit.
Halkbank stated that “Because this case has been widely publicised and brought in a highly-charged atmosphere between the US and Turkey, it is essential to address reasonable questions about the court’s impartiality.”
A decision on the recusal would be up to Judge Berman, who has asked prosecutors from the US attorney’s office in Manhattan to weigh in.