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Turkey's Cukurova Open to Retake Control of Turkcell

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TeliaSonera has lost an attempt to keep assets belonging to Turkish conglomerate frozen in the latest stage of a long running and complex dispute over the control of the Turkish mobile network, Turkcell.

TeliaSonera had previously secured an order freezing assets belonging to Turkey's Cukurova Holding, but a US appeals court has now dismissed that ruling after deciding that the two companies had insufficient exposure to the USA for a US court to freeze assets.

The decision should then make it easier for Cukurova to raise the US$1.6 billion it has been ordered to pay by a UK court to settle a debt owned to Russia's Alfa Group.

If it can settle the debt, and it has 60 days to do so, then it can retain its shares in Turkcell.

"Cukurova will be able to proceed to arrange financing to retrieve its interest in Turkcell," said Richard Holwell, a lawyer for Cukurova.

Meanwhile, TeliaSonera will have to seek an alternative way of enforcing a Swiss arbitration ruling against Cukurova that dates back to when Cukurova put its shares in Turkcell up as collaterol for the loan it took from Alfa.

TeliaSonera was awarded USD932 million in damages, as it had the right of first refusal over those shares, which it said should not have been pledged to the Russian company.

The shareholders are still in dispute, but if they can settle the matter, then nearly USD2 billion in shareholder dividends can be paid out by Turkcell. The dividends were frozen while the dispute is ongoing.

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Tags: turkcell  teliasonera  cukurova holding  Turkey