The Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) announced in the Official Gazette Tuesday that it has put some of the shares of Bank Asya, which was seized by the TMSF on May 30, 2015, on sale. The offers for the purchase of the shares will be received until June 23. Accordingly, the TMSF will sell 183.6 million of the total 360 million preference shares (A Group or privileged shares), namely the TMSF will sell 51 of the total preferred stock, pricing each share for TL 0.70 ($0.23).
The equity structure of the bank consists of 900 million shares in total, 360 million of which are preferred stock, while 540 million of the total shares are classified as common stock or ordinary shares (B Group). According to the TMSF announcement, 183.6 million preference shares - 51 percent of the total preference shares - represent the controlling power of the bank, meaning it is the controlling stake. Furthermore, the announcement says the participants have to submit the necessary documents to satisfy the prerequisites to be eligible to make an offer until June 10. Also, those who complied with the prerequisites will be required to deposit $5 million in cash to attend the tender. The participants of the tender have to submit their offers prior to June 23. The tender will start with the public announcement of the offers submitted on June 24, and depending on the number of the participants, the process will continue with a public auction or through simply bargaining. Moreover, TMSF President Ercan Gül announced on May 11 that Bank Asya will either be sold by the end of May or its license will be canceled. According to Article 71 of the Banking Law, banks are given shareholder rights as well as management and inspection exceptions for dividend rights, but it requires the bank's financial strength be strengthened and restructured as well as for any takeover, merger or acquisition to occur within one year at the latest along with an additional three-month process after the takeover is initiated. Otherwise, as the legal procedure requires, a bank will be liquidated if it cannot be integrated into the financial system in the aforementioned ways.
Believed to be the main financial institution of the controversial Gülen Movement and its affiliated companies, Bank Asya's financial situation deteriorated as authorities began probing the shadowy organization. The bank started reporting huge losses throughout 2015, while its shares were suspended from trading on the Borsa Istanbul stock exchange (BIST) on Sept. 26, 2014, due to high volatility threatening investors and to prevent further losses.
In May of last year, the BDDK's audit report on Bank Asya said the bank's privileged shareholders signed blank transfer contracts and a large number of dubious transactions were conducted. The audit report revealed that 40 percent of the bank's privileged shareholders signed blank transfer contracts, making the bank's shareholding structure questionable. Pointing to the deterioration of the bank's financial structure, the report said the assets of the bank shrank considerably. After 63 percent of stakes belonging to the bank's A group shareholders were transferred to the TMSF with the exception of dividends on Feb. 3, 2015, the BDDK launched an investigation into the bank, finding a number of questionable transactions in investigations conducted by financial crimes specialists and the financial crimes unit of the Istanbul Police Department.
On May 29, 2015, the BDDK ruled for the complete TMSF takeover of all shares of Bank Asya due to the bank's failure to fulfill its obligations. The BDDK said in May 2015 that the bank's profits and capital base had collapsed despite being put under the scope of Article 70 of the Banking Law that regulates the BDDK's intervention in troubled banks. The BDDK added that the trouble in Bank Asya's financial structure, administration and operations pose risks to depositors as well as the security and stability of the financial system.
The Gülen Movement is accused of infiltrating state institutions through large-scale cheating and nepotism with aims to topple the democratically elected government through investigations launched by its members in the police and judiciary using fake evidence and illegal wiretapping.
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