İşbank CEO slams inaction over press ‘defamation campaign’

İşbank CEO slams inaction over press ‘defamation campaign’

İşbank CEO slams inaction over press ‘defamation campaign’

CEO Adnan Bali slams the defamatory stories in some news outlets.

Adnan Bali, the chief executive of İşbank, has denied that Turkey’s biggest listed lender is “involved in partisan politics,” criticizing media reports raising questions about its shareholder structure and the bank’s establishment in 1924.

“We would have expected the authorities to respond with an appropriate announcement following a number of unconfirmed reports about our institution. Not because we need it, but because it is their responsibility,” Bali said late on March 23 at a meeting in the western city of İzmir, as quoted by Reuters, slamming the “defamatory” stories that appeared in several news outlets and on social media accounts in February.

“Such stories stemmed from ignorance and/or lack of consciousness,” he added.

Shares in the lender decreased by more than 3 percent on Feb. 22, with analysts citing a claim by a whistleblower on Twitter that Turkey’s biggest bank could face regulatory action.

The whistleblower, who tweets under the pseudonym Fuat Avni, said on Feb. 21 that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had ordered Turkey’s banking watchdog (BDDK) to take over İşbank.

İşbank stated on Feb. 23 that all its activities were in line with Turkish banking laws and said it was observing “incorrect” reports about its activities.

Bank to go to court

“We would like to warn you of several incorrect reports and claims about our activities,” the bank said in a written statement to the Public Disclosure Platform (KAP), adding that the bank will go to the court against the baseless claimers.

Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci dismissed Fuat Avni’s comments.

“In Turkey, the economy cannot be ruled by the comments of imaginary people. İşbank is too important to be tarnished by fantastical comments,” Zeybekci told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting in Istanbul.

A brief controversy had erupted last month when pro-government media outlets concocted a story, claiming that the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) was laundering money from İşbank into accounts of “enemies” of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), citing an alleged Twitter correspondence featuring a CHP delegate.

“The trust bestowed on our institution, the sound shareholder structure, and customer solidarity have swiftly created the best response to the storm being plotted against us,” İşbank CEO Bali noted, warning “anyone who seeks to utilize these non-transparent media outlets to try to tarnish the bank, for personal gains, not to do so.”