Turkey names US-convicted banker to head Istanbul stock exchange

was found guilty by a New York court in January 2018 of plotting to help Tehran evade American sanctions on Iranian oil proceeds. (AP)
Updated 22 October 2019

Turkey names US-convicted banker to head Istanbul stock exchange

  • Mehmet Hakan Atilla was found guilty by a New York court in January 2018 of plotting to help Tehran evade American sanctions on Iranian oil proceeds

ISTANBUL: Turkey has named a banker convicted of sanctions busting in the US as the new chief executive of the Istanbul stock exchange, the finance minister has said.
The appointment of Mehmet Hakan Atilla, the former deputy director general of Halkbank, comes almost a week after US federal prosecutors filed criminal charges against the Turkish state-run bank.
Halkbank is accused of participating in a multi-billion-dollar scheme to evade economic sanctions on Iran.
Atilla was found guilty by a New York court in January 2018 of plotting to help Tehran evade American sanctions on Iranian oil proceeds.
He was released from prison in July 2019.
“After returning to his family and country following his wrongful conviction, Hakan Atilla’s period of relaxation has come to an end,” Finance Minister Berat Albayrak — also President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son-in-law — said on Monday.
“He will start work as the new Istanbul Stock Exchange managing director. I wish him and the stock exchange good luck,” Albayrak added.
“Mehmet Hakan Atilla was elected as CEO at the Borsa Istanbul board meeting dated October 21, 2019. Atilla will act as CEO and board member,” the stock exchange said in a statement.
The decision to give such an important role to Atilla appears to be intended as a defiant message to US authorities during a moment of acute tension between Ankara and Washington.
Relations between Turkey and the US have been particularly strained since Ankara launched a cross-border offensive this month against a US-backed Syrian Kurdish militia viewed by Turkish officials as “terrorists.”
But there have been multiple sources of tension between the NATO allies, including the US failure to extradite a Muslim preacher accused of ordering the failed coup in Turkey in 2016 and American military support for the Syrian Kurdish militia.
In response to the legal investigation, Halkbank accused American authorities of targeting Turkey because of the Turkish military operation launched on October 9.
Atilla replaces Murat Cetinkaya, who became a deputy governor of the central bank in August.
Cetinkaya is not to be confused with the former central bank governor of the same name.


China's aviation regulator raised concerns with Boeing on 737 MAX design changes

Updated 12 December 2019

China's aviation regulator raised concerns with Boeing on 737 MAX design changes

  • China is reviewing the airworthiness of the plane
  • China was first country to ground plane in March

BEIJING: China’s aviation regulator raised “important concerns” with Boeing Co. on the reliability and security of design changes to the grounded 737 MAX, it said on Thursday, but declined to comment on when the plane might fly again in China.
China is reviewing the airworthiness of the plane based on proposed changes to software and flight control systems according to a bilateral agreement with the United States, Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) spokesman Liu Luxu told reporters at a monthly briefing.
He reiterated that for the plane to resume flights in China, it needed to be re-certified, pilots needed comprehensive and effective training to restore confidence in the model and the causes of two crashes that killed 346 people needed to be investigated with effective measures put in place to prevent another one.
China was the first country to ground the 737 MAX after the second crash in Ethiopia in March and had set up a task force to review design changes to the aircraft that Boeing had submitted.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will not allow the 737 MAX to resume flying before the end of 2019, its chief, Steve Dickson, said on Wednesday.
Once the FAA approves the reintroduction into service, the 737 MAX can operate in the United States, but individual regulators could keep the planes grounded in other countries until they complete their own reviews.
“Due to the trade war, the jury is still out on when China would reintroduce the aircraft,” said Rob Morris, Global Head of Consultancy at Ascend by Cirium.
Chinese airlines had 97 737 MAX jets in operation before the global grounding, the most of any country, according to Cirium Fleets Analyzer.