Selin ATAY-TDO-The U.S. brought a criminal case against one of Turkey’s largest banks for aiding a scheme to evade sanctions against Iran, a move that carries political overtones as tensions build over Turkey’s military offensive in Syria.

In an indictment filed Tuesday in Manhattan federal court, prosecutors accused government-owned Halkbank of participating in a wide-ranging plot to violate prohibitions on Iran’s access to the U.S. financial system. The conspiracy involved high-ranking government officials in Iran and Turkey, the U.S. said.

“Halkbank’s systemic participation in the illicit movement of billions of dollars’ worth of Iranian oil revenue was designed and executed by senior bank officials,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman in New York said in a statement. “Halkbank will now have to answer for its conduct in an American court.”

Halkbank is charged with (1) conspiracy to defraud the United States, (2) conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (“IEEPA”), (3) bank fraud, (4) conspiracy to commit bank fraud, (5) money laundering, and (6) conspiracy to commit money laundering.

"These charges were brought as part of the sanctions imposed by the US government against our country because of 'Operation Fountain of peace'," Halkbank said in a statement on the indictment issued by the US Department of justice, New York South District Attorney's Office.

Despite the fact that the results of an independent review of the bank's innocence of these allegations have been shared with the US Department of Justice along with the evidence, it is meaningful to prepare an indictment and file a lawsuit.

Although negotiations between our bank and the US Department of Justice to resolve the matter without an indictment have not been concluded, these charges have been laid as part of the sanctions imposed by the US government against our country because of the "operation Fountain of peace" launched by our heroic army to secure our borders and establish peace in the region.

All of our legal rights arising from international law will be exercised in relation to this unfair trial. In addition, throughout the litigation process, both domestically and abroad, which affect the financial structure of our bank with the reputation and trust those who act banking law and international law arising from our compensation commenced the necessary legal processes will look for the material and moral rights.

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