Economy

Isbank shares fall 3 percent after gov't seizure claims

A social media whistleblower claims Turkey's banking watchdog will take over one of the financial establishment

23.02.2015
Isbank shares fall 3 percent after gov't seizure claims

ISTANBUL

 Shares of Isbank in Borsa Istanbul (BIST) tumbled Monday by over 3 percent following claims that the government was aiming to seize control of the Turkish bank.

A tweet from the account, which operates under the alias Fuat Avni, claimed Saturday that Turkey's banking watchdog, acting on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's instructions, was going to take over Isbank, one of the largest Turkish lenders.

“It is being observed that incorrect news and assessments on the activities of our Bank continue to take place in some newspapers and the social media,” said a statement from the bank issued Monday.

All of Isbank’s activities are fully in compliance with the banking law and it will take legal actions against claims aiming to smear its reputation, the bank added.

According to the whistleblower, whose Twitter account is closely followed in Turkey, Erdogan aims to weaken the country’s main opposition party, Republican People's Party, or CHP. The opposition party holds owns 28.09 percent of Isbank’s shares, bequeathed by the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who first set up the financial establishment.

Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci strongly disavowed the claims Monday.

"(Isbank) is strong enough not to be denigrated by these speculations and delusional comments," the minister said in Istanbul on the sidelines of a UK-Turkey Joint Economic Committee meeting, adding Isbank was "one of the most important actors in Turkish economy and banking system."

Zeybekci said the economy could not be governed by the statements of imaginary people.

The Fuat Avni account was banned last year after a court decision bit it reemerged under a different name. Erdogan called on the anonymous twitter account to reveal its identity on Sunday, alleging its links with parallel state.

Earlier this month, the state’s Saving Deposit and Insurance Fund took over 63 percent of Bank Asya over concerns regarding its partnership structure, which Fuat Avni claims will be the reason advanced for a government seizure of Isbank. 

Isbank is one of largest private lenders of Turkey with assets reaching $96.6 billion and equity capital at $11.9 billion in 2014.

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