Dogan Yayin wins court ruling over Axel Springer sale
Dogan Yayin, Turkey's largest media conglomerate, announced Monday that a tax court had ruled in its favour in a case regarding the sale of a stake in Dogan TV to German media group Axel Springer, but other cases against the embattled media group continue, DPA reported.
The court canceled a fine of 772.5 million Turkish liras (518 million dollars) that had been levied in February 2009 over alleged irregularities in the 2007 sale. Dogan Yayin had appealed the fine.
A much larger tax case, in which the Turkish government is demanding that Dogan Yayin pay 4.8 billion Turkish liras in back taxes and associated fines, was opened in September and is still continuing. The government has accused the company of hiding income generated through the sales of stock between businesses within the group.
The enormous scale of the tax fines, which in total are the largest ever levied on a Turkish company, has led to criticism from the European Union and other observers concerned about the state of press freedom in Turkey.
The Dogan group publishes several powerful newspapers and owns CNN-Turk, the Turkish-language version of CNN, among other channels. Its media outlets have been among the most vocal critics of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), leading some to believe the government has targeted the company because of its criticism.
Axel Springer announced in November it would buy a 29 per cent stake in Dogan Yayin, pending the resolution of the company's tax case.