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Turkish gov't seizes Uzan's assets

It may turn a Pyrrhic victory for Motorola Inc., which may not collect any damages in spite of defeating Turkish operator Telsim in the court of law.

Telsim owes Motorola and Nokia Corp. $4.26 billion, but a twist arose when the Turkish government confiscated the operator’s assets recently.

The country’s Savings and Deposits Insurance Fund seized the assets of 219 companies owned by the Uzan family, which has been in the center of the judicial storm with the American vendor. Although the country’s authority apparently acted for what it saw as Telsim’s alleged siphoning of $5.8 billion from the family-owned Imar Bank, it puts Motorola in a difficult bind.

Market watchers have expressed doubt over Motorola’s ability to recoup its losses because of the operator’s financial troubles. The Schaumburg, Ill.-based company is focusing its efforts on the family’s frozen bank account in Switzerland, which contains $1 billion.

But the Turkish government is not worried about taking all the assets of Telsim alone. It is also focused on revamping a weak economy and investor confidence in the country. Because of that, some believe that the Turkish government may work out a compromise with the American vendor, which means Motorola eventually could collect some money. The terms of such a compromise are not known.

Telsim’s problems are complicating the ability of investors to purchase the carrier, something that may compel the country’s authorities and Motorola to work a little faster on resolving the challenges.

Delay may confer advantages to other players like TIM and Turk Telecom subsidiary Aycell, which have merged their networks. TIM, also Known as Aria, owns 49 percent, while TT has 51 percent.

This new network hopes to put the heat on premier operator Turkcell.

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