Turkey and the United States have discussed returning a jailed executive from state-owned lender Halkbank to Turkey where he can serve the rest of his sentence from an Iran sanctions-busting case, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Tuesday.
In May, a U.S. court sentenced Hakan Atilla, an executive from Halkbank, to 32 months in prison for helping Tehran get around U.S. sanctions.
Halkbank has since faced potential U.S. fines in relation to the case.
Speaking to reporters following talks with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington, Çavuşoğlu said Halkbank had not violated any U.S. sanctions, adding that he had discussed what steps could be taken in the case during his talks.
"There is also the situation of Hakan Atilla being sent to Turkey. As part of bilateral agreements, he can serve the rest of his sentence in Turkey. We also evaluated what could be done on this issue," Çavuşoğlu said.
Çavuşoğlu said there were two ongoing processes in the United States over Halkbank with one being run by U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and the other by the U.S. Treasury.
"The Halkbank case continues, as you know, at the court in New York and the Treasury. We also met with lawyers on this issue and exchanged ideas on what needs to be done and the steps to be taken," Çavuşoğlu said.
Turkish daily Hurriyet reported that the federal court in New York had launched a second investigation against Halkbank and it could soon submit an indictment.
"On the Halkbank issue, there is a process under way here at the Treasury and the judicial process in the southern New York area. There is also a Justice Ministry aspect. ... The court is carrying out a process here, the Justice Ministry has a role in this as well," Çavuşoğlu said.
"We discussed what we could do. On the other hand, in the process in the Treasury, it is about administrative decisions," he added.
Erdoğan earlier this month said he has discussed Halkbank's case with U.S. President Donald Trump, saying the talks were on a "positive path." He said Trump had told him that "he would instruct the relevant ministers immediately" regarding the Halkbank case, without elaborating.