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Şimşek says Halkbank rumors limited central bank’s effect on Turkish lira

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Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek has claimed that a decision made by the Turkish Central Bank to increase interest rates only had a limited effect on a loss in value of the Turkish lira because of a rumor circulating that the US has decided to fine the state-owned Halkbank.

“The news implying that Halkbank will receive a fine of some $49 billion is false,” Şimşek said on an NTV broadcast on Friday.

“The central bank’s hands are not tied against speculative attacks. It will do what is necessary. Let me highlight this: It has the full support of our government,” Şimşek added.

Halkbank released a statement on Thursday denying rumors circulating on social media that US authorities have fined the bank due to a case that involved the violation of sanctions on Iran.

Hakan Atilla, a former executive of Halkbank, was sentenced by a US judge on May 16 to 32 months prison after his conviction of conspiring to violate US sanctions on Iran.

“Of course, right now a great injustice is being done to Halkbank. In particular, Hakan Atilla is in no way a criminal,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told Bloomberg TV on May 14, just before the Atilla sentencing decision was announced.

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