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Last Updated: Monday, 18 August, 2003, 13:46 GMT 14:46 UK
Turkey hunts down Uzan clan
Hakan Uzan
Telsim chief Hakan Uzan is on the wanted list
Turkish police have raided a yacht, a farm and a Mediterranean island hideaway in search of members of the Uzan business dynasty.

The raids - which failed to track down any suspects - were in connection with suspicions of illegal dealing at Imar Bank, the financial arm of the Uzan commercial empire.

The Uzans own a string of firms including Telsim, the country's number-two mobile phone operator.

At the top of the wanted list are family head Kemal Uzan, his brother Yavuz, and Kemal's younger son Hakan.

Elder son Cem, a high-profile opposition politician, is not wanted, but has had his bank accounts frozen along with other family members.

Political problems

The family says the Turkish Government is persecuting it because of Cem Uzan's political activities.

Cem Uzan
Cem Uzan's popularity is dangerous, the Uzans say
Cem Uzan is the leader of nationalist Youth Party, which failed to meet the 10% threshold in last November's elections.

But opinion polls suggest it has since then risen in popularity to second place behind the ruling AK Party .

The Uzan family are best known outside Turkey for a long-running dispute with mobile phone makers Nokia and Motorola.

At the end of July, a US judge ordered the family to pay $4.3bn to the two firms, arguing that the Uzans had committed a "huge fraud".

Falling apart

Imar bank was closed in April, leaving many savers out of pocket.

Although the Turkish state normally guarantees bank deposits, it has refused to do so in the case of Imar, which regulators say had unclear accounts.

According to a new Turkish law, bank owners who fail to meet regulatory standards face particularly severe sanctions.

The government has also annulled the sale of a petrochemical firm to the Uzans, after the family failed to make an initial payment.

Turkish business bust-up escalates
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04 Nov 02  |  Europe
Turkey's economic rollercoaster
04 Nov 02  |  Business

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