May 21, 2015

Bank Asya lawyer: 90 percent of shares must be returned

A total of 90.12 percent of Bank Asya's Group A shares must be returned to shareholders, the bank's lawyer Süleyman Taşbaş said in a statement on Thursday.

Taşbaş was responding to a statement from Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) Chairman Mehmet Ali Akben, who said on Wednesday that the bank had not submitted all of the required documents to justify the return of its management and shares, which were seized by the BDDK earlier this year.

Taşbaş said the management control of the shares must be returned to the shareholders urgently, as the proper documents were provided by the bank to the regulatory agency.

The banking watchdog on Feb. 3 handed management control of 63 percent of Bank Asya's privileged shares over to the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF), citing insufficient transparency to allow for proper regulation. Bank Asya's management and shareholders, however, denied the existence of flaws in the bank's transparency and said the decision was a government-orchestrated bid to sink the lender. Bank Asya announced on Tuesday that it had collected and sent the required information to the BDDK regarding 94 percent of all shareholders, despite it appearing to be an arbitrary request and being given an unreasonable deadline, and claimed that the pretext for continued control of the bank's shares has been eliminated.

Taşbaş told the Bugün daily late last month that the bank is demanding the immediate return of control of the bank's shares. “The BDDK is prolonging the proceedings on purpose although the shares in Bank Asya rightfully deserved to be returned to the shareholders. … They [the BDDK] had cited the lack of documents as the reason for the takeover of control of the shares; now all the requirements have been met and the bank is under an unlawful siege,” Taşbaş asserted.

International credit rating agencies and opposition figures earlier warned that what appeared to many as an attempt to sink Bank Asya due to its links to the Gülen movement -- a faith-based community inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen which has been targeted by top state officials recently -- would be very harmful to the economy, noting that the Islamic lender has a strong deposit structure.

Bank Asya net profits nearly TL 13 million in Q1

Bank Asya's profits were TL 12.99 million during the first quarter of this year, according to an announcement by the bank on Wednesday. Following the bank's announcement, shares increased by 7.23 percent, reaching TL 0.89 lira, while Turkey's stock exchange Borsa İstanbul declined by 1 percent overall.

Published on Cihan, 21 May 2015, Thursday