September 9, 2015

Kaynak Holding: We will claim damages from Justice Ministry

Kaynak Holding will file a claim for damages against the Ministry of Justice for the prosecutors who issued a search warrant that led to auditors and police officers raiding the holding on Tuesday, Hürol Karadaş, a lawyer representing Kaynak Holding, announced on Wednesday.

Pointing to the unlawful actions of the auditors, Karadaş said: “We wanted to prepare a report indicating our objection to the [unlawful] actions [that took place during the audit. They [police officers and auditors] did not allow us to record most of our objections. We were only able to state three of our objections.”

Karadaş also said tax inspectors were involved in the raid even though their involvement was not indicated in the court's search warrant presented by the police. “The tax inspectors who came to our holding are the same ones who have been inspecting our tax records for the last two years. The court's warrant doesn't include them and this is an obvious breach of the law,” Karadaş added.

Referring to the statement of “strong suspicion of crime” included in the warrant, Karadaş said: “If they [government prosecutors] can talk about ‘strong suspicion of crime' when there isn't even a reasonable suspicion about the holding and media reports can be used as evidence for a search warrant, Turkey is no longer a state of law.”

Auditors escorted by the police raided the offices of Kaynak Holding, a business group close to the Hizmet movement, in İstanbul on Tuesday. The raid came shortly after Twitter whistleblower Fuat Avni warned about a crackdown on Kaynak earlier in the day. It was not immediately clear why the police are investigating the company, which has interests in publishing, education, logistics and transport and retail. Simultaneous raids on subsidiaries of Kaynak were conducted elsewhere as part of a government-led media crackdown. The inspection of the holding started on 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday and lasted 24 hours.

Critics of the government have alleged it is using all the tools at its disposal to punish opponents and rival businesses. Kaynak's lawyers have been examining the court's search warrant, the İstanbul-based company announced on its Twitter account on Tuesday.

Last year, a Finance Ministry tax audit team examined tax documents related to Kaynak's operations. Kaynak described the audit as a “routine visit,” denying media reports that referred to it as a “raid.”

Published on Today's Zaman, 9 September 2015, Wednesday