US bars trade with Hakan Atilla for 10 years over 2018 conviction in Iran sanctions case

The U.S. Commerce Department ruled that Mehmet Hakan Atilla, a former Halkbank executive who was convicted in an Iran sanctions-busting case in the United States, cannot participate in any way in any transaction involving U.S. goods for a period of 10 years.

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The U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has barred Mehmet Hakan Atilla from exporting from the United States for a period of 10 years over his 2018 conviction.

Atilla “may not, directly or indirectly, participate in any way in any transaction involving any commodity, software or technology exported or to be exported from the United States that is subject to the Regulations,” said a statement released by the BIS on May 5.

The BIS said that Atilla's export privileges were denied for a period of 10 years from the date of his conviction.

The penalty will thereby remain in effect until May 16, 2028.

This means Atilla will have a hard time conducting any business with U.S. firms directly or indirectly until 2028.

On May 16, 2018, Atilla was sentenced to 32 months in prison in the United States after he was found guilty of taking part in a scheme to help Iran evade U.S. sanctions.

The case has strained diplomatic relations between the United States and Turkey, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has condemned it as a political attack on his government.

Atilla was an executive at Turkey's state-owned Halkbank when he was sentenced.

After his release and return to Turkey in 2019, Atilla was appointed as CEO of the Borsa exchange by then-Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, who is also the son-in-law of President Erdoğan.

On March 8, Atilla abruptly resigned from this post, without disclosing why he took such a decision.