The logo of Turkiye Halk Bankasi AS, or Halkbank, is seen in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photographer: Kerem Uzel/Bloomberg)

U.S. to Appeal Sentence of Turkish Banker in Iran-Sanctions Case

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. prosecutors plan to appeal the length of the prison term for a Turkish banker convicted of aiding an Iranian sanctions-evasion plot.

Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who headed international banking at Turkiye Halk Bankasi AS, was sentenced to fewer than three years in prison in May by U.S. District Judge Richard Berman. Prosecutors sought at least 15 years. The filing Monday didn’t go into detail about the basis for appeal.

The former banker was convicted in January after a trial in which evidence showed he coached participants on how to fabricate documents and participated in meetings where the evasion efforts were hatched. But Berman concluded he was an unwilling and at times unknowing participant in the plot. The chief defendant in the case, gold trader Reza Zarrab, pleaded guilty before trial and cooperated with the prosecution, testifying against Atilla.

Atilla has been in U.S. custody since his arrest in March 2017 and received credit for time already served. He could be released by the middle of next year.

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