Uzan family opens new lawsuit against Turkey over seizure of energy companies: Minister
In the past 10 years, all four of the cases filed by the Uzan family have been concluded in favor of Turkey.Members of the fugitive Turkish Uzan business dynasty have opened a $2.5 billion lawsuit against Turkey, this time in a Stockholm court, over the termination of electricity company concessions despite being defeated in four previous cases, the Turkish energy minister has announced.
“We are facing a new Cem Uzan incident,” Minister Taner Yıldız told reporters while hosting members of the Liquefied Petrol Gas (LPG) Assembly of the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) April 7.
Yıldız said the Uzan family applied to the arbitration court of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce with a demand for 2.5 billion euros, claiming Turkey’s seizure of the group’s ÇEAŞ and Kepez electricity companies’ in 2003 infringed on their property rights.
In 2003, the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry seized the Uzan Group companies’ concessions relating to the generation, transmission, distribution and marketing of electricity in certain parts of Turkey after their patent rights were outlawed in light of an application by Turkey’s Energy Market Regulatory Authority.
In the past 10 years, all four of the cases filed by the family on the issue have been concluded in favor of Turkey.
“According to us, [the lawsuit] doesn’t have any function in terms of energy or law,” the minister said, noting that Turkey’s government was confident that it had enough arguments to defend its claims.
The minister also approached the issue as “another attempt to thwart political stability in the country,” which he said “different structures” had been using since Dec. 17, 2013, when a vast graft investigation was launched.
Libananco Holdings Co. Ltd., which introduced itself as a company operating in the southern part of Cyprus, claimed that it was a partner of the said companies and had thus suffered losses due to the seizure.
With such claims, the company carried the issue to the U.S.-based International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), and filed a $10 billion lawsuit against Turkey, only for a court to find in favor of the latter.
Europe Cement Investment and Trade S.A., a company incorporated under the laws of Poland, filed two different lawsuits, one at the ICSID and one in a Polish court, on the grounds that it held shares in two power companies affected by Ankara’s actions. Turkey, however, was declared innocent in both cases.
In 2011, the European Court of Human Rights also rejected claims by Kemal Uzan and two of his companies for a reported $165 billion in compensation for the alleged expropriation of electricity interests.