Peters & Peters

Victory for Peters & Peters’ client in complex committal proceedings

The High Court has this week found in favour of Peters & Peters’ client Mrs Nebahat İşbilen in committal proceedings initiated against her one-time personal financier and trusted adviser, Mr Selman Turk. As a result, Mr Turk has been sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment.

This is the latest development in long-running fraud proceedings brought by Mrs İşbilen against various defendants including Mr Turk, whom she alleges orchestrated a wide-ranging and complex fraud through which she lost sums in the region of £40 million.

In March 2021, Mrs İşbilen obtained a freezing and disclosure order against Mr Turk. Following his repeated failures to explain what he had done with Mrs İşbilen’s money, Peters & Peters then pursued an application for search and inspection orders to enforce the obligations in the freezing order. That application was granted in March 2022.

In November 2022, following Mr Turk’s continuing serious failure to comply with his disclosure obligations, Mrs İşbilen issued an application to commit him to prison for contempt of court. A lengthy hearing of the application took place before Sir Anthony Mann in late 2023 and his judgment on liability was handed down on 5 March: [2024] EWHC 505 (Ch).

The court found, beyond reasonable doubt, that Mr Turk had committed serious and contumacious breaches of the March 2021 order, in failing to disclose information relating to the whereabouts of millions of pounds worth of funds to which Mrs İşbilen makes proprietary claims. Mr Turk’s breaches of the order were aggravated by his having put forward false explanations for some of the transactions, and by defending the application on the false basis that he did not understand the order and was not properly advised on its meaning and effect. The judgment contains discussion on several points which will be of interest to fraud practitioners and to those bringing or defending committal proceedings.

After hearing submissions on sentencing, on 6 March 2024, Sir Anthony Mann handed Mr Turk a sentence of 12 months’ imprisonment.

The decision has also been reported in the national press, including in The Times, The Telegraph and The Daily Mail.

Commenting on the decision, Jonathan Tickner, Partner and Head of Civil Fraud, who led Mrs İşbilen’s legal team, said:


“Mrs Işbilen is a victim of a wide-ranging and exploitative fraud by Selman Turk and others. This decision of the English court and the sentence handed down today is an important step in showing there is no hiding place from the law and that defendants ignore court orders at their peril. Mrs Işbilen remains determined to continue pursuing the recovery of her stolen funds.”


The Peters & Peters team also included Vlad Meerovich, Alice McDonald, George Pizzey, Stefan Ansah and James Lamming (of Twenty Essex). Dan McCourt Fritz KC and Andrew Gurr of Serle Court were instructed as counsel.