Ex-Turkish minister says 2.5 million-lira transaction was ‘brother’s debt’
Bülent Sarıoğlu ANKARA
Zafer Çağlayan testified before the commission on Dec. 4, but new details are only emerging now due to a Nov. 25 ban on Turkey’s media organizations from reporting on the commission. HÜRRİYET Photo / Selahattin SönmezFormer Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan has told a parliamentary corruption commission that a large bank transaction from a businessman to his brother and then subsequently to his own account was connected to his brother’s debt from the transfer of a company.
Çağlayan testified before the commission on Dec. 4, but new details are only emerging now due to a Nov. 25 ban on Turkey’s media organizations from reporting on the commission.
About 2.5 million Turkish Liras was transferred from Azeri-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab and another businessman, Abdullah Happani, to Çağlayan’s brother, Mehmet Şenol Çağlayan, on Oct. 30, 2012. The same amount of money was transferred two days later to the former economy minister’s account.
Çağlayan said his brother had paid part of the money he owed for the transfer of his company to his brother after he became a deputy.
“I transferred my shares of the company, in which I was a partner and manager, to my brother Şenol Çağlayan after I was elected as a deputy. With this payment my brother paid a part of the money he owed me from the company transfer. All of these actions were done through official channels, through banks,” said Çağlayan. “All of these are indicated in details in our declaration of property.”
Answering questions about the money transaction from Zarrab to his brother’s account and his brother’s relationship with Zarrab, Çağlayan said what was being done was a “coup, a pre-regulated, fictionalized scenario.”
Asked about allegations that his son Kaan Çağlayan received bribes worth 2 million euros, $2 million and 1.5 million Turkish Liras, in a number of bags, from Zarrab’s couriers, and that the money was identified in an airport and followed to his son’s address, the former minister said the allegations were "fictional," asking why the judicial police had not caught and identified the individuals when they were following them.
“The mentioned money neither came to me nor to my family and it has nothing to do with us,” said Çağlayan.
The former minister said he had ordered a much-debated luxury watch, which became the symbol of the two graft probes launched in December 2013, to more than 100 people, including four former ministers, their sons, Zarrab, the former manager of state-run Halkbank and a construction-tycoon.
“I ordered the watch. Murat Yılmaz, who I don’t know, brought [the watch] but as I said multiple times before, I paid the worth in cash,” said Çağlayan, adding that he had paid it in a foreign currency but did not have a currency change document as he received it from his brother.
The watch, which cost 700,000 liras, was allegedly given to Çağlayan by Zarrab as a bribe.