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Turkey Regulator Demands Bank Asya Information Before Sukuks

Asya Katilim Bankasi AS, the Turkish lender in partnership talks with Qatar Islamic Bank, must ask the regulator for permission to issue further sukuk under a 1.25 billion-lira ($587 million) debt program.

Turkey’s Capital Markets Board has asked to be informed of future issues, Cengiz Onder, head of investor relations at Bank Asya, said in a phone interview today from Istanbul. An official at the board, asking not to be named under government policy, said it’s seeking further documentation from Bank Asya before sales can resume, without giving further comment.

The lender is a member of the Tuskon business group, representing companies whose executives sympathize with U.S.- based cleric Fethullah Gulen. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Gulen’s followers are behind corruption allegations from December. Turkish newspaper Sabah reported today that the Capital Markets Board has stopped Bank Asya from issuing sukuk debt, without saying where it got the information.

Bank Asya has sold 550 million liras in sukuk debt in small amounts with short maturities, and the Sabah story was based on false “speculation” that it was being blocked from issuing more, Onder said. The bank’s core focus will be on attracting deposits, he said.

In the six weeks after the corruption allegations became public, Bank Asya fell more than any other company on the benchmark XU100 index. The bank’s share price then climbed the most in 6 years after news of talks with QIB emerged last month.

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