Shares in Turkey's Halkbank slump 14% after banker's US arrest

By bne IntelliNews March 30, 2017

Shares in state-owned Halkbank, Turkey’s sixth largest lender by assets, plunged on March 29 on the news that one of its top executives had been detained in the US on charges of helping Iran evade international sanctions.

The lender's share price fell by as much as 14.26% - the biggest daily decline ever seen by Halkbank - on March 29 to trade at TRY10.34 at the close, erasing TRY2.15bn (€548mn) from the bank's market value. The index tracking banking stocks was down 2.06% while the broader main stock exchange index, the BIST-100, dropped 1.01%.

The lira was trading at 3.6484 per dollar at 7:00am Istanbul time compared to 3.6458 at the end of trading on March 28.

Turkish officials plan to discuss the arrest of the banker with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who is expected to arrive in Ankara on March 30 for talks on Syria and other regional security issues.

It remains to be seen whether US authorities will launch probes into other executives of Halkbank or other Turkish entities over Iran sanctions.

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