Turkey gov't hits media group Dogan with tax fine

Tue Sep 8, 2009 6:28am EDT

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ISTANBUL, Sept 8 (Reuters) - The government fined media firms controlled by Turkish publisher Dogan Yayin DYHOL.IS, embroiled in a long-running tax dispute, 3.76 billion lira

($2.53 billion) for unpaid taxes, Dogan said on Tuesday.

Dogan Yayin, which controls more than half of the domestic non-state media market, was fined $500 million earlier this year for tax irregularities connected with sale of a 25 percent stake in the firm to German publisher Axel Springer (SPRGn.DE).

Dogan has denied any wrongdoing in that case and accused the government of treating it unfairly because of its newspapers and television stations' critical political reporting.

The media companies were fined twice the level of their unpaid taxes, assessed at 1.88 billion lira, Dogan said in a statement. They were fined an additional 342,173 lira for unspecified irregularities.

The Finance Ministry issued the fines after examining company accounts for 2005, 2006 and 2007.

The firms fined included Dogan TV Holding, D Yapim, Dogan Produksiyon and Alp Gorsel Iletisim, the publisher said in a statement. Dogan officials declined comment further.

(Writing by Selcuk Gokoluk; editing by John Stonestreet)

((selcuk.gokoluk@reuters.com; +90 312 292 7012; Reuters messaging: selcuk.gokoluk.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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