Godiva chocolate owner transfers shares abroad amid Gülen suspicions

Yıldız Holding, the owner of Turkey’s largest food company that includes chocolate brand Godiva, transferred shares in its biscuit company to a unit in the United Kingdom after rumours it would be targeted for alleged connections to Islamist preacher Fethullah Gülen.

The 102.6 million shares, amounting to a 30 percent stake in Ülker Biskuvi, were sold to unit Pladis Foods Limited for 2 billion lira ($530 million), according to a statement to the Istanbul Stock Exchange. The sale brings Pladis’s share of the company to 51 percent.

Shares in Ülker Biskuvi and other units of Yıldız slumped in November after reports that they would be targeted in a government operation against the Gülen movement, which Turkey blames for organising a failed military coup in 2016. Yıldız denied the reports.

The government has seized billions of dollars worth of businesses with alleged connections to Gülen since the failed coup. Gülen and his followers have denied any involvement.

Click here to read the stock exchange filing