Indictment prepared for allegations of charity fraud
Zahid Akman, the former head of the Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTÜK), is a suspect in the probe into the ‘Deniz Feneri’ charity fraud claims. Hürriyet photoNew details of the investigation into the “Deniz Feneri” (Lighthouse e.V.) charity embezzlement scandal have begun to emerge as the 550-page indictment was finally completed yesterday and is ready to be submitted to the Prosecutor’s Office.
Some 20 suspects are implicated in the indictment, including three people who had earlier been sentenced in a German court, as well as Zahid Akman, the former head of the Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTÜK) and a member of the ranks of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
The indictment involves charges pertaining to “forgery,” “abuse of authority” and “the participation of a public servant in forgery,” but charges relating to “fraud” or involvement in an illegal organization were absent from the indictment, NTV reported.
The Prosecutor’s Office, however, ruled to dismiss the charges leveled against the public officials who were accused of leaking the details of the investigation to the suspects, as well as another 46 suspects who had already been released pending trial.
The Deniz Feneri charity embezzlement scandal acquired new dimensions in August 2011 when three prosecutors tasked with conducting the probe were abruptly removed from the investigation on the grounds that they had misled authorities into seizing assets belonging to companies in which the suspects were shareholders even though a court had rejected the measure.
The court had granted a prosecution request to seize only the personal assets of the suspects, but the prosecutors allegedly tampered with the papers, blacking out the rejection of the second request. The prosecutors denied any wrongdoing, and six high-profile suspects under arrest, including Akman, were consequently released on Oct. 21.
The investigation into the Deniz Feneri charity was launched after a Frankfurt court in 2008 convicted three managers of the Lighthouse e.V. charity in Germany for embezzling 40 million euros.