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Wed 26 Mar 2014 12:03 PM

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Qatar's QIB says may buy stake in Turkish lender

Qatar Islamic Bank has entered into exclusive discussions to acquire a stake in Bank Asya

Qatar's QIB says may buy stake in Turkish lender
Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB)

Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) has entered into exclusive discussions to acquire a stake in Turkey's Bank Asya, the Qatari lender said in a statement on Wednesday.

"QIB is seeking to finalise the transaction within the next few months, subject to obtaining the required regulatory approvals," it said.

The Qatari bank did not say what stake it might buy or disclose any other details.

On Tuesday, Bank Asya said it had started talks on a strategic partnership with QIB and planned to complete the process soon. It gave no further details.

The Islamic bank has been in focus since Turkish media reported that state-owned companies and institutional depositors loyal to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan have withdrawn 4 billion lira ($1.8 billion), or some 20 percent of the bank's total deposits, because the bank's founders included sympathisers of cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former ally-turned-critic of Erdogan.

Bank Asya said it had weathered the mass deposit withdrawals and was not at risk. The government has declined to comment.

Media speculated the withdrawals were part of an orchestrated backlash against a government corruption investigation, blamed on Gulen, and which poses one of the biggest challenges to Erdogan's 11-year rule.

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