US Trea­sury dis­pels ru­mor over warn­ing Turkey about sanc­tions

Iran Daily - - National -

US Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steven Mnuchin squashed spec­u­la­tion that he warned Turk­ish of­fi­cials of pos­si­ble sanc­tions tar­get­ing the na­tion.

“I did have con­ver­sa­tions with them, I did not have spe­cific con­ver­sa­tions on sanc­tions,” Mnuchin told re­porters aboard a US Air Force plane to Abu Dhabi on Satur­day, re­fer­ring to talks with Turkey dur­ing an In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund meet­ing in Wash­ing­ton ear­lier this month. “There is no truth to those ru­mors,” Bloomberg re­ported.

His com­ments came in the wake of a volatile week for Turk­ish as­sets. Stocks, bonds and the lira fell af­ter a re­port in a lo­cal news­pa­per ear­lier this month said six Turk­ish banks may face penal­ties re­sult­ing from a US in­ves­ti­ga­tion into their deal­ings with Iran, even af­ter reg­u­la­tors de­nied the news and the pub­lisher pulled the story.

In an ef­fort to ad­dress some of the con­cerns, Turkey’s Econ­omy Min­is­ter Ni­hat Zey­bekci said Halk­bank, a state-run lender that acted as a medium of pay­ments for im­ports from Iran, did noth­ing in vi­o­la­tion of US sanc­tions against Tehran.

Halk­bank, Turkey’s se­cond-largest state bank, it­self hasn’t been charged with any crime and has re­peat­edly de­nied any wrong­do­ing, though the devel­op­ments have cur­tailed the share price per­for­mance this year. How­ever, three ex­ec­u­tives from the bank have been charged in the US for vi­o­lat­ing the sanc­tions and bank­ing fraud.

Mnuchin is on a six-day visit to the re­gion to dis­cuss the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s new Iran strat­egy.

Turkey’s bank­ing reg­u­la­tor also urged the pub­lic on Oc­to­ber 21 to ig­nore ru­mors about fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions, in an ap­par­ent dis­missal of the re­port that some Turk­ish banks face bil­lions of dol­lars of US fines over al­leged vi­o­la­tions of sanc­tions.

“The news def­i­nitely does not re­flect the truth,” the head of the Bank­ing Reg­u­la­tion and Su­per­vi­sion Agency, or BDDK, Mehmet Ali Ak­ben told Bloomberg News by phone.

“There’s no in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Turk­ish banks. We have re­ceived no in­for­ma­tion or doc­u­ments from the US,” Ak­ben said.

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