Some $4.5 million in cash found in shoeboxes during graft raids conducted Dec. 17, 2013, have been returned to the ex-general manager of state-run Halkbank, Suleyman Aslan, after he was released from custody, private broadcaster CNNTurk has reported.
According to a Feb. 25 report, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmakers the sum was money destined for charity and was given back to Aslan by the court.
"The state has not lost a single penny. That amount was charity money," Erdogan was quoted as saying by CNNTurk.
Erdogan had previously told Al-Jazeera that the cash was not the bank's money.
Accused of illegal transfers of gold to Iran in exchange for money via Halkbank in partnership with a ring formed by Iranian-born businessman Reza Zarrab, Aslan was released from detention Feb. 14 with six other suspects. He was replaced while still in custody as head of the bank by Ali Fuat Taskesenlioglu.
Zarrab and the sons of the ex-ministers of the interior and economy still remain under custody, along with two other suspects.