$5 billion lost in Imar Bank

HDN | 7/27/2003 12:00:00 AM |

The dimensions of the internal looting system in Imar Bank, whose license was cancelled by the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) on July 3, 2003, are frightening. Yet, not all of the financial records are disclosed but it has been argued

The dimensions of the internal looting system in Imar Bank, whose license was cancelled by the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) on July 3, 2003, are frightening. Yet, not all of the financial records are disclosed but it has been argued that TL 6 quadrillion was transferred to the Uzans by the double-registry system in Imar Bank. Now, the cost of returning this money, which has been labelled the biggest bank robbery in Turkey, to the deposit holders is being debated.

The decisions of BDDK on Imar Bank are strictly followed by the new IMF representative Riza Moghadam, since this large amount of lost money was also noticed by the International Money Foundation (IMF). It is wondered how this amount of money will be taken back from the Uzan Family if those who apply with a document showing that they are clients of Imar Bank are paid their money by the BDDK.

It is reported that in Imar Bank there are a lot of "fictitious accounts". As BDDK Chairman Engin Akcakoca previously announced, the amount of these kind of accounts has reached TL 6 quadrillion. When the bank's recorded deposits of TL 900 trillion are added to this, the amount of money in Imar Bank transferred to the Uzans reaches $5 billion.

The officials, expressing that this robbery in Imar Bank is at record levels, stated, "The amount seems to be TL 900 trillion in the bank records. But the applications of deposit holders show that the amount is TL 7 quadrillion.

It has been debated in the banking sector if it is more appropriate for BDDK to assign one of the family members as a trustee as soon as members of Uzan family resign from the bank management and liquidate the bank in this way instead of taking the bank over.

Accounts examined

Since the BDDK cancelled the licence of Imar Bank, Merkez Investment of the Uzan Group, in which bank records are kept, has been raided by the police twice on orders of BDDK.

The information maintained in these raids was not enough to understand the financial structure of Imar Bank completely. BDDK Chairman Engin Akcakoca stated in his declarations after Imar Bank was confiscated that the computer records of the bank were cancelled.

After the Uzan Group declared that the BDDK misled the public opinion, the BDDK attempted to examine and rearrange the bank accounts and on the other side it declared they could pay bank clients if they agree to sign a pledge guaranteeing the paying back of the money.

These workings brought a frightening fact of the banking system into light. The accounts seen as TL 900 trillion in the official records in Imar Bank increased incredibly by TL 6 quadrillion. The amount of money that Imar Bank passed to BDDK became TL 7 quadrillion instead of TL 900 trillion.

It is wondered in the banking system how the BDDK is going to pay this TL 6 quadrillion which was transferred to the Uzan Family.

The payment of TL 6 quadrillion, which has not yet been found, to Imar Bank clients is considered as definite for political reasons and the deposit guarantee. However, it is wondered how this will be reflected to the national budget if this amount of money is paid by BDDK.

What will happen if BDDK pays TL 7 quadrillion?

It is not clear where and how the BDDK will take the money back if it pays TL 7 quadrillion to Imar Bank victims.

The reason of worries in the markets is the possibility of debates over the records causing BDDK to be non-influential.

In a situation where Uzan Group says to BDDK, "We gave the bank records to you. The rest is your problem," the solution of the BDDK-Uzan conflict is not definite.

Previously, the turnover of Pamukbank to Deposit Savings Bank had attracted the attention of IMF. But the cost of Pamukbank was below $3 billion which was very low compared to Imar Bank.

Imar Bank seems to be an operation of more than $5 billion.

If it is thought that the Uzan Group financed its energy investments with TL 900 trillion then, it is a serious matter of debate what the Uzan Group had done with the lost $5 billion.

It is strange that the banking system could not determine the deficit of $5 billion while the BDDK representative was in charge of Imar Bank management although it was formed within the last one or two years.

$5 billion deficit scares the IMF, too

The IMF officials, who completed their negotiations in Turkey last weekend but will examine Turkey more closely in the framework of the fifth and further reviews in the coming months, are doubtful about the developments related to Imar Bank.

It is known that the IMF Turkey representative Riza Moghadam asked several questions about the Imar Bank issue during his last visit to Turkey. The answer, "There is a deficit of around $5 billion," to his questions about Imar Bank caused him to complain that he is confronted with a serious problem to his near environment.

Sener: 'The Imar Bank victims will be paid in two weeks'

Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener stated that Imar Bank victims would be paid in two weeks.

Sener expressed that Imar Bank had been in control and supervision for a long time and a manager had been assigned for the bank. Sener also stated that as in 20 other banks, only the supervisory and managerial councils were taken over, not all of the partners of the bank. Sener said, "The BDDK is responsible for taking all measures in order to keep the rights of all deposit holders of the bank and carries out these responsibilities. However, at the end of the examinations it is revealed that some records except official records were kept. BDDK continues to examine the accounts. Before coming here, I had a talk with the BDDK Chairman, and according to the information I received from him, the deposit holders will be paid in two weeks at the latest."

Case on Cem Uzan: Article 159 of TCK

A case was opened against Young Party Chairman Cem Uzan in the Higher Criminal Court for insulting Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a meeting in Bursa.

Young Party Chairman Cem Uzan attended a rally on June 13, organised by his party after CEAS and Kepez Electricity was taken over by the state on June 12, had insulted the prime minister and AK Party government without giving their names. Uzan had said, "Look you backstabbing man! What kind of a Muslim are you? You are a bandit!" After this speech, an investigation had been opened with special permission from the Justice Ministry referring to Article 159 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).

The investigation opened by Bursa Deputy Public Prosecutor Nasuh Akca was completed. Akca opened a case against Cem Uzan referring to Article 159 of the TCK which regulates the punishments for crimes of "deride and insult of Turkish nationality, the Republic, Turkish Grand National Assembly, moral personality of the government, ministries, state's forces or the moral personality of judiciary."

The "insult" investigation opened on Young Party Leader Cem Uzan by the lawyers of Prime Minister Erdogan still continues.

Uzans deny the robbery

On the other hand, the Uzan Group through the Uzan-owned newspaper "Star" gives place to complaints of deposit holders of Imar Bank who have not yet received their money back accusing the BDDK. The Uzan Group argues in the paper that the takeover of Imar Bank is for political reasons and denies the transfer of this amount of money to the Uzans with a double-registry system in Imar Bank.

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