Telsim sale delayed by fraud case

5 Aug 2005

The Turkish government’s plans to sell Telsim, the country’s second largest wireless operator, have been delayed as a result of the ongoing legal wrangle surrounding the company’s USD3.2 billion debt owed to Motorola and Nokia. The two vendors launched legal proceedings against Telsim’s former owners – the Uzan family- in 2002, accusing them of misappropriating vendor financing loans to Telsim. The Savings & Deposits Insurance Fund (TMSF), a state banking body, took over responsibility for Telsim last year after the collapse of the Uzan’s bank, Imar Bank. The TMSF claims that the Uzans now owe it USD6 billion, and it is planning to recoup part of this via the sale of Telsim. However, the sale is being blocked by a demand from Motorola and Nokia for a guarantee that the Uzans will not be able to retrieve monies paid to the two firms, if they (the Uzans) decide to take legal action to regain control of Telsim. Under the terms of a deal agreed by Motorola and Nokia earlier this year, TMSF will pay Motorola 20% of the proceeds from the sale of Telsim (or at least USD400 million) and Nokia 5% (or at least USD100 million). Vodafone has already expressed an interest in acquiring Telsim.

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