UK court paves the way for seizing assets of FETÖ figure

YÜKSEL TEMEL
ISTANBUL
Published 03.08.2019 00:07

A British court has rejected an appeal by Akın İpek, a prominent member of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), against the seizure of 60 million pounds ($72.84 million) the Turkish government says he funneled into his U.K.-based company after his businesses in Turkey were confiscated.

The court also ruled for the eviction of his five luxury flats in Britain he is accused of purchasing with funds from his Koza Ltd. Koza Altın is currently run by trustees appointed by Turkey after a court ordered its seizure from İpek.

Akın İpek was detained last year at Turkey's request for his extradition over charges related to the July 15, 2016 coup attempt orchestrated by FETÖ.

Last November, a court rejected his extradition to Turkey, to the chagrin of Ankara which pursues global efforts for the extradition of FETÖ members who fled abroad to escape prosecution.

The suspect left Turkey prior to the seizure of his Koza Holding by court order in October 2015. He lost lawsuits filed in U.K. courts for the return of his assets seized by Turkey.

İpek, who studied business in the U.K., inherited a printing business from his father. In the 2000s, his business empire considerably expanded, with some critics tying it to his links to FETÖ, and branched into the mining sector with a gold mine in western Turkey which is now run by trustee-appointed Koza Altın.

He made a foray into media by buying the Bugün newspaper in 2005. It was followed by more media purchases, including Kanaltürk TV and the establishment of Bugün TV. They were well-known mouthpieces for FETÖ before Turkey moved to shut them down.

He is currently sought by Turkish authorities for "managing a terror group, financing terrorism, embezzlement and spreading propaganda for a terror group." His brother and mother are among 45 defendants currently on trial in Turkey for FETÖ links with his business conglomerate.

In a previous case, the U.K. High Court rejected İpek's request to use up to 3 million pounds of his U.K. subsidiary Koza Ltd.'s money to fund his personal legal expenses in Turkey after an "essential artificiality" was found in the transaction papers of the company.

His U.K.-based private company Koza Ltd. reportedly possesses over 60 million pounds and is considered one of the main financial backers of FETÖ.

Trustee-run Koza Altın has sought the return of assets from Koza Ltd. In 2017, the U.K. Court of Appeal had ruled that the English court has exclusive jurisdiction to determine whether the authority of trustees should be recognized in England. The Supreme Court dismissed İpek's claim, ruling that the English Court does not have a jurisdiction to hear the case.

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