Turkey bank regulator dismisses 'rumours' after Iran sanctions report

Turkey bank regulator dismisses 'rumours' after Iran sanctions report
Turkey’s banking regulator dismissed rumours about financial institutions, after reports that some Turkish banks face billions of dollars of US fines over alleged violations of Iran sanctions.
2 min read
22 October, 2017
The comments came after a report suggested Turkish banks face US fines [Getty]
The Turkish public should dismiss rumours about financial institutions, the country's banking regulator urged on Saturday, after reports suggesting some Turkish banks face billions of dollars of US fines over alleged violations of Iran sanctions.

"It has been brought to the public's attention that stories, that are rumours in nature, about our banks are not based on documents or facts, and should not be heeded," the BDDK banking regulator said in a statement, adding that Turkey's banks were functioning well.

The comments came after a report by the Haberturk newspaper on Saturday which said six Turkish banks face substantial fines, in a report citing senior banking sources.

No banks were mentioned by name, however the report said one bank faces a penalty in excess of $5 billion.

A spokesman for the US Treasury, which is responsible for US sanctions regimes, said the "Treasury doesn't telegraph intentions or prospective actions".

Meanwhile, two senior Turkish economy officials said Turkey has yet to receive any notice from Washington about such penalties, according to Reuters.

It comes as global banks face billions of dollars in fines for violations of sanctions with Iran in recent years.

Last week, US President Donald Trump adopted a more aggressive line towards the Tehran regime, including tough new sanctions against Iran's Republican Guard Corps paramilitary force.

It also refused to certify its compliance with a nuclear deal struck with the United States and five other powers including Britain, France and Germany under his predecessor Barack Obama.

The Haberturk report comes as relations between Washington and Ankara, which are NATO allies, have been strained by a series of diplomatic rows, prompting both countries to cut back issuing visas to each other's citizens.

Last month, US prosecutors charged a former Turkish economy minister and the former head of a state-owned bank with conspiring to violate Iran sanctions by illegally moving hundreds of millions of dollars through the US financial system on Tehran's behalf.

But the charges were dismissed by President Tayyip Erdogan himself who said it was politically motivated, and tantamount to an attack on the Turkish republic.

The charges stem from the case against Reza Zarrab, a wealthy Turkish-Iranian gold trader who was arrested in the United States over sanctions evasion last year. 

Erdogan said US authorities had "ulterior motives" in charging Zarrab, who has pleaded not guilty.