Qatari diplomat a shareholder in Turkish defense company: Report
ISTANBULSome 49 percent of Turkish defense company BMC has been sold to a Qatari company with a Qatari diplomat on the company’s board, as reported by Turkish daily Cumhuriyet.
It is highly questionable for a company with a foreign diplomat on its board to bid on public tenders, said the report, adding the company had recently won a tender to produce inflammable riot control vehicles with water cannons, known as TOMAs in Turkish.
“The TOMAs of the company were exhibited at the IDEF15 defense fair in Istanbul a couple of weeks ago. Here is the question, whether a company with a foreign diplomat on the board could bid on a public tender, which was opened in closed ways by the police forces of a country,” said the report. BMC was bought by Turkish media mogul Ethem Sancak last May after the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) had seized the company in May 2013. The TMSF seized BMC, along with 11 other group companies, from Çukurova in May 2013, alleging the conglomerate had failed to make payments on $455 million worth of debts owed to the fund.
Sancak had offered 751 million Turkish Liras (then worth around $360 million) to buy the manufacturer of armored vehicles, trucks and buses from the state fund, which had initially estimated BMC’s value at 958 million liras. Sancak’s company, Es Yatırım, was, however, the only bidder in the auction and bought the company for what it offered.
Sancak said the company would cost him around 2 billion liras ($948 million) because of the investment he claims will be needed to continue production.
Cumhuriyet claimed the management structure of the company has changed since this date. According to the report, Es Yatırım raised capital in early July 2014 from 103 million liras to 300 million liras, around 149 million liras of which was owned by the Qatari Armed Forces.
On July 24, 2014, the company’s management board was claimed to be renewed, and Qatari Military Attaché Hemaid Abdulkareem Al Hajri joined the Es Yatırım board, which was composed of 10 Turkish and Qatari members in total.
On Aug. 21, 2014, Es Yatırım, which has since been renamed BMC Otomotiv, organized an unscheduled general meeting and changed the main contact, according to the report. It was now recorded that the company could produce, sell, modernize and trade any defense vehicles and their parts. One of the company’s purposes was defined as “bidding in local and foreign tenders and making contracts,” according to the report.
On Nov. 3, 2014, Qatari Al Hajri became one of the three board members of BMC Otomotiv, who has the right of A-plus signature authorization. Others named in the report were Nasser Hasan Al Qader and Nasser Hassan N. A. Al Naimi. These people have the power to represent the company on each platform, claimed the report.
Al Hajri’s address in the company records was the same as the Qatari Military Attaché Office in Ankara, according to the report.
“It is questionable whether this positioning is against the Vienna Convention,” said the report.
Sancak also bought the media assets seized by the TMSF, which belonged to the troubled Çukurova conglomerate in 2013.