Turkish lawyer files legal complaint against Sabancı Holding executives over Temsa sale

A lawyer filed a legal complaint against the executives of Turkish conglomerate Sabancı Holding accusing them of bankruptcy fraud in relation to the sale of its vehicle manufacturing firm Temsa, Evrensel daily reported on Saturday.

Swiss firm True Value Capital Partners bought the company in May from Sabancı Holding at a discounted value of 375 million liras ($65 million) after adjusting for debt and cash holdings.

Lawyer Leman Türkmenoğlu accused Sabancı Holding executives of intentionally increasing the company’s debts and transferring funds abroad. 

“There are at the moment 44 executives in the holding, I filed legal complaints for all of them over fraudulent bankruptcy and the prosecutors invited them to testify,” the lawyer said. 

“In a nutshell, with the transaction (sale), they choked Temsa with debt by taking loans from banks and transferring commercial contracts, and they took the money abroad,” Türkmenoğlu said. 

Temsa, one of the country’s leading producers of commercial vehicles established half a century ago, halted production of its buses and light trucks last month. The manufacturer has a capacity to produce 11,500 vehicles a year and employs about 20,000 people in Turkey and abroad.

The sale of Temsa came during a difficult period for Turkish manufacturers, who have suffered due to a rise in costs driven by the steep decline of the lira since the beginning of 2018. 

Following reports in the media questioning the sale of Temsa, Turkey’s Minister of Treasury and Finance Berat Albayrak started following the matter on the orders of the Turkish president, Dünya newspaper reported earlier this month. 

Dünya said Sabancı Holding was preparing to repurchase Temsa under the directive of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.