İstanbul court issues arrest warrant for Uzans over money laundering

Cem Uzan

May 26, 2011, Thursday/ 13:15:00

An İstanbul court on Thursday issued arrest warrants for five members of the Uzan family as part of an ongoing case in which they stand accused of laundering illegally obtained money.

The İstanbul 10th High Criminal Court ordered the arrest of Kemal Uzan, Yavuz Uzan, Melahat Uzan, Murat Hakan Uzan and Ayşegül Uzan. None of the five suspects attended Thursday's hearing. Lawyers from the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) were also present during the hearing.

Cem Uzan was one of the most powerful businessmen in Turkey before a couple of his companies were confiscated and he was later accused of fraud and embezzlement in a number of cases.

The prosecutor's office demanded prison sentences of between three and 20 years for 25 people, including Cem Uzan, Hakan Uzan and Kemal Uzan. The indictment claims that the suspects transferred TL 1.9 billion, $466 million and 240 million euros from time deposits of İmar Bankası customers to their personal accounts and then extended this capital as loans to some of the group's companies. It also stated that the family used this money to buy shares of the confiscated Çukurova Electricity Corporation (ÇEAŞ) and the Kepez Electricity Corporation.

In June 2003 the TMSF took over İmar Bankası and Adabank, two Uzan banks, accusing the Uzan family of taking part in a scheme to siphon off millions of dollars from the two financial institutions. The TMSF, which compensated Uzan's clients and account holders for the money they lost in the bank, said Uzan's debts arising from the two banks topped TL 3 billion. In order to recoup the money, the TMSF took over 200 companies of the Uzan family group, including Star Media, two cement companies and the Telsim GSM company.

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