June 23, 2015

Bank Asya’s owners launch new cases to reverse scandalous take-over

Publicly traded Islamic bank Bank Asya’s owners have launched 30 more cases to end the controversial May 29th seizure of the bank and February 3rd management takeover by regulators.

Representing Bank Asya’s owners, lawyer Süleyman Taşbaş filed the cases at the Ankara Regional Administrative Court seeking to get a stay of execution against the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency’s (BDDK) orders which 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.

The total cases against the banking regulator has now reached 100 with the bank’s lawyers demanding the return of the bank’s operations and the management.

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.

Speaking to the press on Tuesday morning, Süleyman Taşbaş 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. 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 1, “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, 23 June 2015, Tuesday