TODAY’S – ‘Foreign lenders in Turkey fear political meddling’

‘Foreign lenders in Turkey fear political meddling’Foreign lenders in Turkey are concerned that recent political interventions in the finance sector will eventually affect their own banks in the form of increased government scrutiny into the banksand#39 partnership structures, a government whistleblower said earlier this week.The whistleblower, who tweets under the pseudonym Fuat Avni, said on Wednesday that a Turkish banking watchdog, the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK), recently provided Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan with a detailed report on the partnership structure of foreign lenders in the country.

Fuat Avni said Babacan asked the watchdog to keep the documents secret and make sure they are not leaked. The whistleblowerand#39s Twitter account said it will reveal the details, citing andldquoserious risks to the Turkish finance systemandrdquoFuat Avniand#39s latest revelations regarding the banking system come on the heels of earlier tweets in which the whistleblower said eight banks in Turkey were in a financially difficult situation and had been placed under BDDK surveillance.

Fuat Avni had said President Recep Tayyip ErdoIan and leading government officials in charge of the economy have been informed about the issue.Another critical revelation by the Twitter user was that ErdoIan had allegedly ordered the BDDK to take over II BankasI, much as it did to Bank Asya last month.

Bank Asya has been targeted by ErdoIan because it is affiliated with the Gulen movement, also known as the Hizmet movement, which is inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen. Following two graft probes that went public in December 2013, ErdoIan accused Hizmet of being behind the investigations and claimed that they were a coup attempt against his government.

Four government ministers had to resign as a result of the probe.The BDDK had claimed that some privileged shareholders in Bank Asya had failed to submit certain documents to the agency.

Bank Asya denied this. Fuat Avni has said all foreign lenders in Turkey are in danger of being seized by the state should the BDDK issue the same document request to the banks that they used to seize Bank AsyaThe following are the revelations Fuat Avni presented on Wednesday.

The Twitter user claims data was taken from the BDDKand#39s secret banking report prepared for Babacan:Twenty percent of shares in Iekerbank belongs to Samruk Kazyna, 10 percent belongs to BTA Securities JSC and a complementary personnel fund holds 35 percent of shares in the bank. The leading shareholders in Dutch Rabobank are cooperatives with thousands of members.

Majority shares in Intesa Bank belong to a union.Kuwait Finance House KSC holds 62 percent of shares in Kuveyt Turk.

A total of 48.9 percent of shares in Kuwait Finance House belong to the Kuwaiti state, while 51.

9 percent is traded publicly. Deutsche Bank AG, which holds 99.

99 percent shares in Deutsche Bank, has 566,979 shareholders.ING Group NV, which is the main shareholder in ING Bank, has shareholders each with no more than 3 percent shares in the bank.

Fuat Avni says the BDDK has no idea about these shareholders.The National Bank of Greece (NBG) holds 82.

23 percent of the shares in Finansbank. Fuat Avni says Greek and foreign investors, a hospital, an insurance firm, a pension fund and a church are among the shareholders of NBG.

Russian Sberbank, which recently purchased Turkeyand#39s Sberbank, has 224,000 shareholders, none of which are known to the BDDK.Spainand#39s second largest lender, BBVA, has 974,395 shareholders and 25 percent of shares in Garanti BankasI.

State Street Corp. is the second largest shareholder in Garanti, with 6 percent of the shares.

FMR LLC is the third shareholder, with 4 percent of the shares.Unicredit and Turkeyand#39s Ko Holding jointly control 81.

8 percent of shares in YapI Kredi BankasI. Abu Dhabiand#39s Aabar Luxembourg Sarl has 5 percent of shares in Unicredit, and the USand#39s BlackRock Inc has 47 percent of the shares.

According to Fuat Avni, the BDDK is also unable to obtain the details of all of the shareholders in Unicredit and YapI Kredi.Citigroup has 99 percent of the shares in Citibank.

The Vanguard Group is the largest shareholder in Citigroup, with 7 percent. The partnership structure of Vanguard is andldquocompletely vague,andrdquo according to Fuat Avni.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman