Publicly traded Islamic bank Bank Asya’s owners have launched 100 cases against the seizure by regulators, with lawyer Süleyman Taşbaş emphasizing that lawsuits can also be filed on behalf of the 18,000 shareholders corresponding to the B Group shares.
The total number of cases filed against the seizure of the bank in late May and the management overhaul in February has now reached 100, with the legal team of the A Group shareholders demanding the return of the bank’s operations and the management. The Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency’s (BDDK) orders led the Savings and Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) to first take over the bank’s management on February 3rd and then banking operations of the lender on May 29th.
Speaking to Bugün daily, Taşbaş said that the number of cases may reach 110 with the main case file reaching 500 pages, pointing out that the B Group shareholders will also have the opportunity to file cases until the legal deadline expires in the next 35 days. In a public call out to the 18,000 B Group shareholders, Taşbaş said “If individuals want to prevent any abuse of their rights that may come in the future, they have to open cases.”
Taşbaş expressed hope that the courts will act objectively in reviewing the cases. Bank Asya had long been subject to political attacks prior to the measures imposed by the BDDK, with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan even stating that the bank “had already failed” despite the fact that the publicly traded Islamic lender had one of the best capital adequacy ratios of the sector. Defamatory rumors published by pro-government press over the past year and a half have been challenged, yet remain unpunished.
Süleyman Taşbaş also said that a criminal complaint will be filed with the prosecutors against the bureaucrats working at the regulatory agencies who took part in the seizure of the bank and its management.
The Bank Asya shareholders’ lawyer reiterated that the February 3rd takeover of the bank’s management - on the grounds that it had disclosed insufficient information pertaining to its founding shareholders - was neither justifiable nor true.
“Bank Asya had achieved more transparency than the rest of the banking sector. We have stressed this fact over and over again and have made strong arguments against the issues underlined by the BDDK. Therefore we are hopeful of a positive outcome,” he said in a prior statement to the press on Tuesday. Taşbaş reiterated that the regulator had not been able to report any illegal activity by the bank, adding “there is no way to mask the illegal measures taken against the bank.”
The February 3rd management takeover occurred when the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency only processed documentation corresponding to the ownership of 37 percent of the shares instead of the 53 percent which had been submitted. Even though more than 90 percent of the documents have since been completed and submitted, management still has not been handed back.
The May 29th seizure proved even more scandalous, with TMSF President Şakir Ercan Gül himself recognizing the bank’s strong financials in a statement to a Turkish news station on June 1st, “The bank’s assets are positive. We will not be touching shares either belonging to the owners or those which are publicly traded.”
Published on BGNNews, 25 June 2015, Thursday