US District Court Judge Jed Rakoff ruled that members of the Turkish Uzan family and others “have perpetuated a huge fraud”. He ordered the family to pay Motorola and Nokia $4.3 billion in damages–half of it in punitive damages–arising out of a long-running dispute between the cellular-phone equipment makers and Telsim, the wireless cell-phone provider controlled by the Uzans.

One other thing: They’ll be immediately arrested if they set foot inside the US.

Judge Rakoff added that “[u]nder the guise of obtaining financing for a Turkish telecommunications company, the Uzans have siphoned more than a billion dollars of plaintiffs’ money into their own pockets and into the coffers of other entities they control.” He found that the Uzans “have sought to advance and conceal their scheme through an almost endless series of lies, threats and chicanery, including, among much else, filing false criminal charges against high-level American and Finnish executives.” The ruling runs 173 pages.

While the Uzans–father Kemal and sons Cem and Hakan–have homes in places like London and Switzerland, the vast majority of their assets, which include construction companies and banks as well as Telsim, remain in Turkey. And in Turkey, the Uzans are parties to more than 100 criminal and civil cases, including a libel charge filed by the Turkish prime minister against Cem. The Turkish government has been fighting to seize various family assets–and some officials there, like Judge Rakoff, have said the family should be in prison. The international cell-phone giants will have to get in line.

The dispute itself goes back to 1998 when Motorola and Nokia were seeking entry into the Turkish telecommunications market. Eventually, the two companies loaned Uzan-controlled, mainly Telsim entities $2 billion so they could buy licenses and equipment to build their networks. As collateral for the loans, the Uzans pledged to Motorola shares of Telsim stock held in another Uzan-controlled company. The Uzans entered into similar financing and supply agreements with Nokia at about the same time, which were not disclosed to Motorola. Despite repeated assurances, the Uzans stopped payments on the loans in 2000.

The companies say the Uzans actually used the loans for other purposes, financing private planes, helicopters, yachts and apartments. These items are, of course, de rigeur for any self-respecting billionaire.

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