Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today released the following statement in reaction to the Treasury Department’s response to the initial inquiry in his investigation of Turkey’s state-owned Halkbank:
“The Treasury Department does not deny that President Trump tasked Secretary Mnuchin with intervening in the criminal investigation of Halkbank, and the department’s response to my letter raises more questions than it answers. “For example, the department disclosed seven Mnuchin meetings with Turkish officials—President Erdogan, President Erdogan’s son-in-law Berat Albayrak and Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek. These meetings took place while Treasury was supposed to be playing a key role in investigating Halkbank for massive Iranian sanctions violations.
Albayrak in particular has close ties to Jared Kushner and history of using shady dealings to advance Erdogan’s interests, including reportedly working with former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn in an effort to kidnap exiled Turkish dissident Fethullah Gulen from his home in Pennsylvania.
“Halkbank stands accused of the largest Iranian sanctions evasion scheme in U.S. history. Congress needs to know to what extent Donald Trump and his cronies were carrying water for a state-owned Turkish bank and whether they ran the same Ukraine playbook by roping U.S. government officials into their personal scheme.”