The whistleblower, who tweets under the pseudonym Fuat Avni, claimed that a shocking 250-page report detailing bad loans given to pro-Erdoğan people and businesses by state lenders Halkbank, Vakıfbank and Ziraat Bank was sent to the Prime Ministry’s Inspection Board.
Avni said the scandal, if leaked to the media, could be enough to topple the government, prompting officials in the caretaker government of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to cover up traces of the bad loans.
For example, in one incident $30 million was transferred to the Swiss bank account of pro-government businessman Mehmet Cengiz from a credit line extended to a firm by Ziraat Bank’s General Manager Hüseyin Aydın. Cengiz was implicated in a massive corruption scandal in December 2013.
Cengiz gained notoriety for his use of vulgar language in a leaked wiretapped telephone conversation last year. In the phone conversationvrecorded during the legal surveillance of a graft investigation, Cengiz is heard telling a friend, “We will f*** this nation.” He was allegedly referring to the purchase of the Turkuvaz Media Group. Cengiz has won 28 public tenders in the past 10 years with a combined value of almost TL 100 billion.
Avni said banking auditors found out how much money had been transferred to bank accounts in Dubai under payments drawn on state lenders. He said the money was in fact payoffs for bribery. All banking activity was documented with proof.
He said a TL 20 billion ($7.4 billion) loan that was funneled to pro-Erdoğan businesspeople by Aydın had become non-performing. Erdoğan’s son Bilal was extended TL 500 million ($184 million) in addition to favorable interest rates and deferrals on payments that differ from banks’ normal policies.
Avni speculated on whether Turkey’s Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) President Mehmet Ali Akben and Prime Ministry Inspection Board President Yunus Arıncı would be able to bury the report now that a new Parliament will be formed.
Akben was appointed president of the BDDK on May 15 on the promise of seizing long-targeted Bank Asya, Turkey’s largest Islamic lender, which was founded by sympathizers of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. The illegal takeover of the bank two days before the election on June 7 drew strong criticism from opposition parties, economists and political analysts, who called the decision unlawful.
Avni said the appointment of Akben was also aimed at whitewashing bad loans provided to pro-Erdoğan people and firms. He claimed Akben was given valuable properties as a bribe in exchange for his services in clearing Erdoğan’s financial tracks.
In a further plot that followed the takeover of the bank by regulators, Avni said Akben appointed two controversial auditors named Necati Kocaman and Gökhan Elibolu to the bank, instructing them to draw up a falsified report showing that the bank was devoid of funds.
When Bank Asya was taken over, it had net assets of TL 1.7 billion. Its capital adequacy ratio was 18.3 percent, above the sector average.
Bank Asya shareholders have already filed lawsuits against the government’s arbitrary takeover.