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Turkey’s finance minister appoints former jailed Halkbank director to head Istanbul stock exchange

Finance and Treasury Minister Berat Albayrak on Monday announced that former Halkbank director Hakan Atilla was appointed as the director general of Borsa Istanbul, Turkey’s main stock exchange.

“The resting period for Hakan Atilla, who was reunited with his family and country following an unjust conviction, is over. He will start his duty as Borsa Istanbul’s Director General,” pro-government newspaper Yeni Akit quoted Albayrak as saying.

Atilla served 32 months in prison in the United States for helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions, and was released on July 19 this year.

The trial of the former Halkbank executive made international headlines with allegations of involvement in the scheme by several senior officials in Turkey, including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

A Manhattan federal court indicted Halkbank, the second-largest state-owned bank in Turkey, with fraud, money laundering, and involvement in sanctions evasion, the U.S. Department of Justice announced on Tuesday.

Atilla’s trial helped establish the bank’s connection, according to the statement.

The indictment included references to President Erdoğan and Minister Albayrak, who is Erdoğan’s son-in-law.

At the request of Iranian-Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab, “the then-Prime Minister of Turkey and his associates, including a relative of the then-Prime Minister who later held multiple Turkish cabinet positions, instructed Halkbank to resume the scheme,” it said.ahvalnews