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Isbank Falls on Report Ruling Party Lawmaker Calls for Probe

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Dec. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Turkiye Is Bankasi AS slid in Istanbul after Sabah newspaper said that the head of economic policy for Turkey’s governing party called for a probe into the bank’s relationship with the main opposition party.

Isbank fell 4.4 percent to 3.28 liras at 5:30 p.m., declining for a fifth day and extending the lowest level since July 2009.

“Sabah newspaper’s report about an investigation of the Republican People’s Party’s stake in the bank” is driving Isbank shares down, Ceren Uras, a trader at Ekspres Invest in Istanbul, said in comments sent by email.

Bulent Gedikli, a deputy chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party, said lawmakers should look into whether the opposition party uses its 28 percent stake to influence the bank’s policy, Sabah said. The stake breaches the Constitution and the laws governing political parties and should be handed to the Treasury, Gedikli said. The shares were bequeathed to the party by Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Gedikli didn’t immediately respond to phone calls placed to his office at the party’s headquarters in Ankara. Isbank’s public relations department declined to comment on the report.

The Republican People’s Party is a “passive investor” and doesn’t meddle with management, former Isbank Chief Executive Ersin Ozince said in August 2003, when he was serving in the role.

The main ISE National 100 index of shares fell 2.3 percent to 51,338.97.

To contact the reporter on this story: Selcuk Gokoluk in Istanbul at sgokoluk@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Mark Bentley at mbentley3@bloomberg.net; Gavin Serkin at gserkin@bloomberg.net

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