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The black face of finance sector: credited gangs

HDN | 11/6/1997 12:00:00 AM |

By M. Akif Beki / Turkish Daily News Istanbul - One year passed after the road accident happened near "Susurluk" in Balikesir province on November 3, 1996, which revealed a picture of a gang allegedly related to the state; however, despite all indications, the extension of the gang into the finance sector wasn't focused on enough. The basic characteristic of the illegal relations among politicians, underworld figures and the state intelligence and security forces was financial. The owner of

By M. Akif Beki / Turkish Daily News

Istanbul - One year passed after the road accident happened near "Susurluk" in Balikesir province on November 3, 1996, which revealed a picture of a gang allegedly related to the state; however, despite all indications, the extension of the gang into the finance sector wasn't focused on enough.

The basic characteristic of the illegal relations among politicians, underworld figures and the state intelligence and security forces was financial. The owner of the Imperial Casinos who had been nicknamed the King of Casinos Omer Lutfu Topal was assassinated in 1996 because of the money traffic he controlled, while a National Intelligence Service (MIT) spy Tarik Umit has been missing since 1995 who was allegedly involved in the black money laundering traffic carried out via the formation of the First Merchant Bank based in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Furthermore, a well-known usurer Nesim Malki was shot death in Bursa, but his case remained just a mysterious murder while the role of a different bank in Northern Cyprus owned by Malki wasn't investigated enough in the course of trying to solve the murder.

The Susurluk gang had gained financial power by stealing from the state. Millions of dollars were profiteered from banks, and especially from state banks, under the guise of credits issued. And the traces of the gang's financial resources for its illegal activities are marked on the "black face" of the banking sector.

The Parliamentary Commission investigating the "Susurluk gang" found important clues which should have revealed what was behind the mystery of these murders.

In particular, a profiteering scandal became the focus of the Parliamentary Commission.

Erol Evcil was an ordinary insurance agent, but one day he founded an olive company and his life changed completely. Evcil's company was Eze Olive Inc. which was formed on 16.12.1994 with a TL 10 billion lira capital. The 99.80 percent of the Eze Zeytincilik belonged to Evcil himself, while the capital of company was increased to TL 500 billion in 1995, and to TL one trillion in 1996. Additionally, Erol Evcil formed a group of companies including Eren Construction, Erev Textile and EEV Automotive Industry.

After these steps, he began to apply to several banks to obtain credits for his newly formed companies. Briefly, on February 3, 1997, his companies were given 185 million U.S. dollars (TL 33 trillion) credit in total. 110 million dollars and 422 thousand dollars of this was given by Turkiye Is Bank, and 26,727, 500 dollars was given by an Is Bank establishment Is Financial Rent.

Besides that the Erol Evcil group of companies was given credit by Ege Bank (4 million dollars), Toprak Bank (one million dollars), Emlak Bank (1,200 million dollars), Interbank (15,870 million dollars) and Turk Ticaret Bank (26 million dollars).

In short, within a period of three years Erol Evcil became an industrial boss in need of his own bank. But this level was not so difficult by profiteering on bank credits. There were obstacles in front of Erol Evcil, but he was determined to reach his goals.

Erol Evcil was involved in contacts with a noted ultranationalist godfather Alaattin Cakici in order to eliminate those who wanted to prevent him from having a bank.

Meanwhile Evcil was targeting Turk Ticaret Bank which had fallen into payment difficulties because of unreturned credits -- it is interesting to note Erol Evcil was the leading creditor who was profiteering at Turk Ticaret Bank.

Everything was on its way until this point, but a road accident happened around Susurluk and criminal gangs were taken under investigation by a Parliamentary Commission. Erol Evcil faced his first piece of ill chance through the activities of this Commission. Because a top intelligence character, former Deputy Chairman of the Police Intelligence Department, Hanefi Avci marked out on his name when he was heard at the Parliamentary Commission's meeting of February 4, 1997.

According to Hanefi Avci, Erol Evcil was in touch with Alaattin Cakici, and carried out various dirty works with his gang. "Finally" has said Hanefi Avci, "We were informed that Erol Evcil had paid 2 million dollars to Alaattin Cakici in order to threaten a person who was authorized to give the required permission to Erol Evcil to have a bank."

Hanefi Avci went on to say that in minutes of the same meeting, a MIT figure who has close ties with Cakici was involved in the case as a peacemaker. "The group including Erol Evcil, godfather Alaattin Cakici, and MIT's Yavuz held a meeting with the threatened figure Adil Ongen in order to seek a solution," revealed Hanefi Avci.

After hearing Hanefi Avci, the Parliamentary Commission focused on the Erol Evcil's rising progress, and asked the Trade and Industry Ministry to be informed in a letter dated March 14, 1997. The official answer with a secret seal signed by Trade and Industry Minister Yalim Erez was sent to the Parliamentary Commission. Turkiye Is Bank also sent credit information about Evcil's companies with an official letter dated February 4. The official figures corrected the information given above about the Erol Evcil group of companies' credit positions.

But after all that, Erol Evcil missed the chance to own Turk Ticaret Bank, while Adil Ongen who allegedly was threatened by Alaattin Cakici was injured in an armed attack on him just two months after Hanefi Avci's revelations.

Finally, Turk Ticaret Bank was taken over by the Treasury Undersecretariat because of the unreturned credits, and Erol Evcil went bankrupt because of the millions of dollars of credit debts.

Erol Evcil didn't return any of the 185 million dollars in credits, while Turkiye Is Bank had to take over Eze Olive Company's fields and facilities in the Havran district of Balikesir nearly two months ago. But there were neither the machines leased through the Is Financial Rent transaction which cost around 27 million dollars, nor TL 6 trillion in mortgaged olives. Erol Evcil just left a 4 million dollars field and facility for Turkiye Is Bank vis-a-vis the 140 million dollars credit he used from this bank.

Meanwhile, neither Turk Ticaret Bank taken over by Treasury Undersecretariat nor Egebank nor Interbank were left with anything except the same fields and facility. And now all of them have gone to court to seek their shares.

And Erol Evcil left vital questions behind for us: Who was backing Erol Evcil and how did he gain so much capital; what kind of a connection was there between Erol Evcil and the murdered usurer Nesim Malki; how was he able to obtain so much credit; and why has the Republican People's Party (CHP) which is represented by four members of the Executive Board on Turkiye Is Bank remained silent against the unjust credits sponsoring the dirty business being carried out by gangs.

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