LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--2nd July 2018 - An English High Court judge has delivered another legal blow to Akin Ipek – blocking his attempt to use Koza Ltd to fund his attempts to resist extradition to Turkey, where he faces criminal charges.
Mr Justice Morgan also ruled that, contrary to Mr Ipek’s own submissions, he appears to have sufficient funds of his own to pay his legal fees. The Judge made clear that Koza Ltd’s purpose was not to fund Mr Ipek’s personal legal battles when he can afford to do so himself. The ruling came after bank statements and other evidence were placed before the court indicating that tens of millions of dollars worth of funds had been hidden away by Mr Ipek.
Koza Ltd is a UK based private company which is wholly-owned by Koza Altin, a publicly-listed company in Ankara. Koza Altin has initiated a process to remove Mr Hamdi Akin Ipek from the Board of Koza Ltd. Mr Ipek is resisting his removal in the English Courts, and the issue is the subject of ongoing litigation.
This month’s ruling relates to an attempt by Mr Ipek in the meantime to use Koza Ltd’s funds to finance a separate attempt on his part to resist extradition to Turkey. This attempt has now been blocked by Mr Justice Morgan.
Koza Altin’s case in the underlying litigation is that Mr Ipek and Koza Ltd are seeking to prevent Koza Altin from exercising its rights as shareholder of Koza Ltd. Koza Altin is seeking the removal of Mr Ipek as a director of Koza Ltd in order to protect Koza Altin and its assets for the benefit of its shareholders and in accordance with its regulatory obligations. Specifically, the company is taking action to ensure that around £60m of shareholders’ capital held by Koza Ltd cannot be improperly taken out of the company and used for Mr Ipek’s personal interests.
This is a matter of sensible corporate governance, entirely consistent with Koza Altin’s responsibilities as an entity strictly regulated by the relevant independent authorities. Koza Altin takes seriously its obligations under capital markets laws and other laws and regulations in Turkey. It will take whatever steps are necessary to protect shareholders.
The action is taken for the benefit of all of Koza Altin’s shareholders - including funds, banks and other Turkish and international investors who directly own 30% of Koza Altin and indirectly own a majority of 58%. Koza Altin also follows the requirements of the Capital Market Board which is the regulatory authority for the Turkish capital markets.
Koza Altin’s position is that the changes made to Koza Ltd’s constitution by Mr Ipek in September 2015 were invalid and improper. Specifically, he bestowed upon himself and his brother, at a total cost of £2, rights to control a company wholly owned by Koza Altin, and in possession of then around £60m, whose transfer from Koza Altin Mr Ipek had previously arranged. This move caused Koza Altin to lose control over Koza Ltd completely. The need to take legal action to protect Koza Altin and its public shareholders in this situation is obvious. It believes the UK court will uphold its position.
Contrary to what Mr Ipek attempts to claim in these proceedings, neither Koza Altin nor any of its assets has been seized or expropriated by the Turkish state. The changes at Koza Altin’s management have not damaged the company’s interests in any way, and have been welcomed by investors, including a number of international institutional investors. This is clearly evidenced by the company’s share price, which has risen since Mr Ipek’s removal.
The court-imposed changes in management at Koza Altin are designed to preserve assets and evidence. The former trustees were appointed in October 2015 by the Turkish Criminal Court, in accordance with the Turkish Criminal Procedure Code, on the basis of a suspicion by the court of money laundering and terrorist financing.
Hugo Plowman, partner at Mishcon de Reya and Koza Altin’s legal adviser, said:
“These proceedings ultimately derive from an attempt by Mr Ipek to resist his removal from the Board of Koza Ltd. The process of removing him was initiated entirely lawfully in 2016 by Koza Altin, Koza Ltd’s parent company, and is the subject of ongoing litigation. We are confident in our legal case and welcome this latest ruling in Koza Altin’s favour.
“Koza Altin refutes the various allegations put forward by Mr Ipek in resisting his removal. In the meantime Mr Justice Morgan’s ruling makes clear that he needs to pay the costs relating to the extradition process himself, and stop trying to use Koza Ltd as his personal piggy-bank.”