The Justice Department had discussed the possibility of a so-called deferred prosecution agreement with Halkbank, in which it would admit some wrongdoing, perhaps pay a fine, but not face criminal trial, according to two individuals with direct knowledge of the matter, but who asked not to be named as they did not have authorization from the bank to disclose the details. “The negotiations began to take on a real character over the last several months,” one participant in the matter said last week. On Tuesday, the Justice Department filed sanctions evasion charges against Halkbank, noting that the “bank’s audacious conduct was supported and protected by high-ranking Turkish government officials,” including some who took “millions of dollars in bribes to promote and protect the scheme.” The Justice Department has also alleged that Mr. Erdogan was briefed on aspects of the operation in 2013, when he was Turkey’s prime minister. The fact that officials at Justice Department headquarters, and Mr. Barr himself, were involved in the case was not unusual, former federal prosecutors said, given that it was a sensitive case that involved another nation, and was the topic of conversations between the president and a foreign leader. But the Halkbank case… Read full this story
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