Turkish prosecutor prepares case against Dogan, Isbank: reports

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 17, 2016 4:35 AM

ANKARA (Reuters) - An Istanbul prosecutor has submitted an indictment accusing the founder of conglomerate Dogan Holding and chairman of Isbank of involvement in a fuel-smuggling ring, several newspapers close to the government said on Thursday.

The prosecutor is seeking a 23-year jail sentence for Aydin Dogan, whose Dogan Holding owns Turkey's largest media group with titles including newspaper Hurriyet, and broadcasters CNN Turk and Kanal D, according to pro-government daily Aksam.

Isbank board chairman Ersin Ozince is accused in the indictment of involvement in financing the smuggling ring between 2001 and 2007, Aksam said.

Dogan Holding and Isbank had no immediate comment.

The case dates back to when Dogan Holding and Isbank, the country's biggest listed lender, were stakeholders in fuel distributor Petrol Ofisi, prior to its acquisition by Austrian company OMV in 2010.

At 1118 GMT Dogan Holding's shares were down 3.57 percent, lagging behind Istanbul's main index which rose 1.53 percent to 80,583.22 points. Isbank shares were up 1.27 percent. Several analysts contacted by Reuters declined to comment because of the political sensitivity of the situation.

Prosecutors launched an investigation into Dogan Media Group last September for alleged "terrorism propaganda". In 2009 it was fined $2.5 billion for unpaid taxes, in what critics saw as an attempt to crush media criticism of President Tayyip Erdogan following its coverage of graft allegations.

An aide to Erdogan meanwhile called in January for the nationalization of Isbank, in which the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) has a 28 percent stake.

(Reporting by Dasha Afanasieva, Ayla Jean Yackley, Asli Kandemir and Ceyda Caglayan, Editing by Nick Tattersall and Angus MacSwan)