Turkish businessmen file €69 billion lawsuit against state-run TMSF, other firms

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Turkish businessman and former politician Cem Uzan and his brother Hakan Uzan, leader of the Youth Party (GP), have filed a €68.9 billion lawsuit against 60 firms and individuals, including Turkey’s state-run Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) and giant companies such as Motorola and Vodafone, Euronews Turkish service reported on Friday.

Among the 60 defendants in the case, which was filed in the Paris Court of Appeal, are some of the richest people in Turkey, according to the report.

Doğuş Group Chairman Ferit Şahenk, Sabancı Holding board member and Akbank Chairperson Suzan Sabancı Dinçer, former media mogul and Doğan Holding owner Aydın Doğan, Limak Holding CEO and chairman of the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) Nihat Özdemir, and Zorlu Holding Chairman Ahmet Nazif Zorlu are some of the defendants, Euronews said.

The defendants, who bought companies that had belonged to the Uzan Group and were then seized by the TMSF, are accused of “fraud and gaining unearned income.” The plaintiffs argue that €68.9 billion is required to compensate for the damage they suffered due to the sales since 2005, according to the report.

The first hearing is expected to take place in either late 2021 or early 2022.

Cem Uzan, who fled Turkey for France due to pressure from the government of then-prime minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, of whom he was a political opponent, has previously defeated Turkey in European courts.

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 then-head of the 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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