Turkish state fund freezes all assets belonging to Soma mine owner
Alp Gürkan (C) gestures during a press conference following the accident at the Soma mine that killed 301 workers. DHA PhotoThe Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) has frozen all assets belonging to Alp Gürkan, the businessman who owns the company operating the mine in Soma where 301 workers died in a deadly accident last month.
Gürkan faces between six and 18 years in jail as part of an investigation on fraud charges that opened before the disaster in Soma. The TMSF is seizing the assets of 10 people, including Gürkan, for not having paid debts worth 76 million Turkish Liras.
The Soma Holding head has for now avoided being charged as part of the investigation into the mine disaster.
Gürkan’s son and the CEO of the Soma Coal Mine company, Can Gürkan, was arrested on May 19, along with the mine’s general manager, Ramazan Doğru.
Prosecutors have determined 39 suspects based on the first expert report on the disaster, including three who died in the accident. Eight among the remaining 36 have been arrested, while nine were released pending trial.
A request for an arrest warrant against Alp Gürkan was rejected by a court, which argued that there was “no evidence” showing the owner’s responsibility.
The company has been under fire for not implementing adequate safety measures and negligence in not evacuating the mine, despite indicators showing an increase in the risk for miners.