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Dogan says assets sale blocked in tax probe

* Says sale of group shares blocked in tax probe

* Says tax office continuing investigation of assets

* Dogan shares fall as trade resumes

(Adds details, background)

ISTANBUL, March 18 (Reuters) - Turkey's leading media group Dogan Yayin Holding DYHOL.IS said on Wednesday tax authorities had imposed an injunction blocking the sale of its stakes in group companies as part of a tax investigation.

The move by the tax office, which pushed the shares lower, marks the latest twist in a legal wrangle over a $500 million penalty which was imposed on Dogan Yayin because of alleged tax violations.

The authorities have rejected assets put up by the group as collateral while it appeals the fine, most recently rejecting the company’s Kanal D and Star TV brands as collateral.

The latest injunction blocks the sale of the group's stakes amounting to 66.56 percent in Hurriyet Gazetecilik HURGZ.IS, 70.76 percent in Dogan Gazetecilik DGZTE.IS and 44.89 percent of Dogan Burda Dergi Yayincilik DOBUR.IS, Dogan Yayin said.

It said it would continue to exercise its financial and management rights to which it is entitled as owner of those shares.

Dogan Yayin added that the investigation by the tax office of the group’s assets was continuing.

As trade in the group’s shares resumed after the statement, Dogan Yayin fell 6.4 percent to 0.44 lira. Hurriyet fell 3.9 percent, Dogan Gazetecilik was 2.6 percent lower and Dogan Burda fell 3.6 percent.

Dogan Holding DYHOL.IS, which is also active in energy, industry, trade and insurance sectors, fell 8.5 percent.

Most of the tax penalty is for alleged irregularities during Dogan Yayin's sale of a 25 percent stake to German publisher Axel Springer SPRGn.DE for 375 million euros ($475 million) in 2006.

The Finance Ministry is seeking collateral for the fine during the legal appeal, which could take years to conclude.

Dogan Yayin operates Hurriyet and Milliyet newspapers, as well as CNN Turk, a partnership with the U.S.-based broadcaster.

(Writing by Daren Butler; editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

((thomas.grove@reuters.com; Telephone: +90 212 350 7051; Reuters Messaging: thomas.grove.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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