On Wednesday night, a U.S. court in New York found former state-run Halkbank Deputy Chief Executive Officer Mehmet Hakan Atilla guilty on five counts related to conspiracy and bank fraud but acquitted him of a money laundering charge. After early and limited depreciation, the jury verdict remained quite limited in generating any negative impact on Turkish markets, while the Turkish lira and Halkbank shares on the stock market continued to gain value.
Right after the decision, the dollar saw a slight rise against the Turkish lira, reaching $3.78 in the morning session, while it was traded around $3.75 in the afternoon. The verdict's impact on Halkbank shares traded on the Borsa Istanbul's benchmark index BIST remained relatively limited. The bank's shares closed at TL 10.92 ($2.90) on Wednesday and started trading at TL 10.88 yesterday morning with a slight depreciation. However later in the afternoon, the shares increased over 1.5 percent and reached TL 11.09. Halkbank shares already saw the bottom in the third quarter when a major sellout occurred. But toward the end of the year, the bank's shared started to rise, recovering from the losses.
In light of the dollar quotations and the Halkbank shares, experts indicated that the verdict in the case in the New York court remained relatively limited in creating an effect on Turkish markets.
The legal procedure is continuing in the U.S. since the verdict of Judge Richard Berman is due on April 11, and lawyers are planning to appeal the case. But analysts argue that the process is expected to continue its limited impact on the markets since the case is tried over a person's alleged involvement with the charges of conspiracy to violate the Iran sanctions.
Speaking to Daily Sabah, Kapital FX Deputy Research Manager Enver Erkan highlighted that no major volatility in the markets has been observed since the announcement of the verdict. "Despite the legal process still continuing, there is nothing to be afraid of," he said, adding that for Halkbank's shares, the worst was the third quarter sellout.
Although the dollar was rising in global markets with the hawkish Federal Reserve (Fed) minutes, Erkan said the Turkish lira sustained its gains against the greenback. Erkan also pointed out that the judge would not rule on Halkbank since the bank is not a party in the case. Thus, there seems to be nothing to worry about in Turkish markets, Erkan said. Moreover, he emphasized that the waning publicity in the case in the U.S. media has also failed to stir the markets. As the case has lost its public relations value, it has started to lose impact on the Turkish lira and stock markets, he added.
The verdict by a panel of six men and six women against the 47-year-old banker came after more than three weeks of testimonies and four days of deliberation.
Atilla was declared guilty on five counts, including violating the U.S. sanctions against Iran, deceiving the U.S. and defrauding U.S. banks.