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Turkish businessman wins another case against Turkey in France

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A French court has ruled in favor of Turkish businessman and former politician Cem Uzan, marking the third time he has defeated Turkey in European courts in recent months, Euronews Turkish service reported on Wednesday.

The court decided that a 2013 ruling by a Turkish court which had imposed €375 million in fines on Uzan was in violation of the international legal norm of impartiality as the prosecutor and the judge overseeing the case were married to each other.

Turkish courts had dismissed impartiality objections lodged by Uzan’s lawyer.

As a result, the Paris court rejected the lawsuit filed by Turkey’s Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) against the businessman to collect the fines as well as ruled that the TMSF should cover legal expenses of €6,000.

Speaking to Euronews, Uzan’s lawyer Matthias Pujos said this is the third victory Uzan has won against the TMSF between September 2018 and March 2019.

“At this point, it is crucial that the TMSF concede to negotiating the issue of giving back my client’s confiscated assets,” Pujos said.

In March the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled that Turkey had violated Uzan’s private property rights by freezing the assets of his children.

In December a French court ruled in favor of Uzan after a French debt collector tasked by the TMSF raided his apartment in Paris, forced his safes open and seized stock certificates valued at $2.1 million.

Uzan fled Turkey for France due to pressure from the government of then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, of whom he was a political opponent. The businessman was granted political asylum in France. Turkish authorities later indicted him in absentia on racketeering charges and sentenced him to 23 years in prison in 2010.

As head of the nationalist Youth Party (GP), Uzan was a leading challenger to Erdoğan, whose party came to power in 2002. But his political star rose just as his family’s business empire collapsed, with Erdoğan’s government revoking the family’s right to run two power plants and taking control of two of the family’s banks.

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