On 19 April, France 24 reported that the US Supreme Court had rejected the claim of sovereign immunity by a Turkish bank, Halkbank, accused of violating Iran sanctions. In 2019, the US alleged that it took part in a year-long scheme to launder Iranian oil and natural gas proceeds, in violation of sanctions. The funds were used to buy gold and the transactions were disguised as food and medicine purchases in order to fall under a humanitarian exemption to the sanctions. Multiple individuals have already been found guilty in the case, including Mehmet Hakan Atilla, a deputy director general of the bank, who was convicted in 2018.
The Wall Street Journal said that the ruling wasn’t a total defeat for Halkbank, as the Supreme Court left open the question of whether it could be shielded from prosecution under principles of common law, which is derived from custom and judicial precedent rather than statutes. The Court sent the case back to the Court of Appeals for further analysis of that potential defence.