Telsim 2, Motorola 1: Turkey crys foul

1 Aug 2003

Less than a week after the Geneva Court of Justice ruled against it in its long-running legal dispute with the Uzan family – owners of Turkish cellco Telsim – Motorola has scored a legal victory in the US Courts. Judge Rakoff of the US District Court of New York ruled the American company had been the victim of a ‘huge fraud’ perpetrated by the Uzans, and ordered them to pay Motorola USD4.3 billion in compensation and punitive damages. In his summing up Judge Rakoff said ‘Under the guise of obtaining financing for a Turkish telecommunications company, the Uzans have siphoned more than USD1 billion of plaintiff’s money into their own pockets and into the coffers of other entities they control . . . they have sought to advance and conceal their scheme through . . . lies, threats and chicanery’. In response to his damning indictment, Thomas Mueller, a lawyer acting for the Uzans, said ‘the judgement does not come as a surprise. We have dealt with this judge for some time now and we know he is kind of biased’. Not surprisingly the Uzans intend to challenge the decision, having already seen two of Rakoff’s rulings overturned in the appeal courts.

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