October 28, 2015

Koza CEO denounces slanderous reports after seizure

Pro-government media outlets have published defamatory reports accusing Koza İpek Holding of bankrolling its operations with mysterious financial sources, according to Akın İpek, the CEO of Koza, who said on Wednesday that he had expected such remarks amid the uproar over the recent government seizure of his company.

Quoting an expert report which was used as the basis for the decision to seize Koza İpek Holding, several pro-government dailies published reports on Wednesday arguing that inspectors found questionable transactions in Koza's accounting records which were listed as donations and that Koza finances its operations using those mysterious resources.

İpek said the dailies confused the name of one of Koza's gold mines, Himmetdede, with the Turkish noun “donation,” which shares a similar spelling.

İpek said he had expected that the pro-government media outlets would immediately launch such a smear campaign.

On Monday, Koza İpek was put under administrative receivership by an Ankara court on the grounds of allegedly financing terrorism. The holding, which includes subsidiaries for the leading anti-government media outlets, has long-been the center of scrutiny by regulators for its alleged support of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan launched a witch hunt on companies with ties to the Gülen movement following the eruption of a corruption scandal in December 2013.

The CEO said on Monday night that the government seized the companies after previous failures to find anything illegal while inspecting the company's affairs. Reiterating his earlier comments, İpek further said on Wednesday: “They argue that we have parallel accounting records [that we had been hiding from inspectors at my holding]. Do you know what it is? We have a back-up system installed on our computers. Company transactions are [regularly] archived.”

Media reports earlier said the expert report proved that Koza's transactions did not contain any irregularities, even though it is very common to see improprieties in the official transactions of large conglomerates in Turkey. Yet, the expert's report portrayed a lack of irregularities as the source of doubt cast upon the corporation's activities.

Published on Today's Zaman, 28 October 2015, Wednesday