TURKIYE HALK BANKASI A.S. V. UNITED STATES

The petition asks the Court to consider whether the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) applies to criminal cases. Halkbank, a Turkish state-owned bank, was indicted for violating U.S. sanctions against Iran. The Second Circuit held that the FSIA does not apply to criminal cases and, in the alternative, that the case would fall within the FSIA's commercial activities exception.

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The Executive Does Not Control Common Law Immunity

A previously reported on TLB, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Türkiye Halk Bankasi, A.S. v. United States, to decide whether a bank owned by Turkey is entitled to foreign state immunity from federal criminal prosecution.  Halkbank was indicted for evading sanctions against Iran. Both lower courts denied immunity to Halkbank, reasoning in part that…

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The Supreme Court Takes Up Sovereign Immunity from Criminal Prosecutions

On the first day of the October 2022 Term, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Türkiye Halk Bankasi A.S. v. United States. The case, put simply, asks whether the U.S. government can bring criminal prosecutions against foreign companies owned by foreign sovereigns. The United States has charged Halkbank, in which Turkey’s sovereign wealth fund has…

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Criminal Proceedings and the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act

Congress enacted the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 (FSIA) to address the inconsistent application of doctrines of state immunity to civil suits against foreign states and state-owned enterprises. The statute confers jurisdictional immunity on these entities, subject to enumerated exceptions. Most litigation under the FSIA involves whether a particular defendant qualifies as a foreign…

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