Brian Ballard
Brian Ballard

Ballard Partners, which has close ties to the Trump administration, has signed on as DC representative for Turkiye Halk Bankasi AS, the Turkish state-owned bank, on financial services matters.

A US judge in May sentenced Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who headed Halkbank's international banking unit, to 32 months in prison for his role in an Iranian plot to avoid US sanctions and launder $1B in oil revenues through the US financial system.

The sentencing wrapped up a two-year case that "become a diplomatic lightning rod between the US and Turkey, with prosecutors presenting evidence of corruption at the highest levels of the Turkish government," reported Bloomberg on May 17.

Turkey's foreign ministry claimed Atilla didn't get a fair trial and was convicted on the basis of "forged evidence and false statements" by followers of Pennsylvania-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey says was the mastermind of the failed 2016 coup to oust president Tayyip Erdogan.

Brian Ballard, who was Trump's chief fundraiser in Florida, is working the Turkish business with former Congressman Robert Wexler (D-FL) and Washington managing partner Sylvester Lukis.