Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office launches probe into Cumhuriyet journalist over ‘off-shore’ report
Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office has launched a probe into daily Cumhuriyet’s judicial correspondent Alican Uludağ over his report on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s alleged off-shore accounts, daily Cumhuriyet reported on March 8.
Uludağ is faced with allegations of “insulting the president,” the daily reported.
Erdoğan’s Ahmet Özel filed a criminal complaint against the story on Feb. 19.
Uludağ was summoned to give his testimony, facing allegations of having committed “criminal activities” on account of the piece he wrote regarding the off-shore accounts on the Isle of Man.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu revealed that President Tayyip Erdoğan’s close circle - including his brother, his son and his executive assistant – made transactions worth around $15 million to an off-shore company called Bellway Limited in the tax haven Isle of Man in December 2011 and January 2012.
“We have all the records of this company. We also have all the documents of the financial transactions,” Kılıçdaroğlu said on Nov. 28, addressing his group at parliament.
Kılıçdaroğlu said Bellway Limited was founded on Aug. 1, 2011, with Sıtkı Ayan as its sole board member and “a one pound sterling founding capital.”
“There are official records showing that it belongs to him both from Turkey and from the Isle of Man,” he said, adding that the company was transferred to Kazım Öztaş on Nov. 15, 2011.
“On Dec. 15, 2011, Ziya İlgen, the brother-in-law of [President] Erdoğan, sent $2.5 million to Bellway Ltd., while Mustafa Erdoğan, the [president’s] brother, sent $2.5 million. Why did your brother sending $2.5 million there?” Kılıçdaroğlu said, going on to list all the transactions in the documents.
“On Dec. 26, 2011 Ziya İlgen sent $1.25 million and Mustafa Erdoğan sent $1.25 million. On Dec. 27, 2011 Osman Ketenci, the father-in-law of Burak Erdoğan, sent $1.25 million. On Dec. 27, 2011 Mustafa Gündoğan, a former executive assistant, sent $1.25 million. On Dec. 28, 2011 Mustafa Gündoğan sent $250,000. On Dec. 28, 2011 Osman Ketenci sent $1 million. On Dec. 29, 2011 Ahmet Burak Erdoğan, the son, sent $1.45 million. On Jan. 4 2012 Ahmet Burak Erdoğan sent $2.3 million,” he said.
“We have the SWIFT documents of these transactions … We also have bank receipts,” Kılıçdaroğlu added, amid chants of “Erdoğan resign” from attendees of the group meeting.
The revelations came after the CHP leader challenged President Erdoğan on Nov. 21 about the off-shore accounts of his close circle.
In response, Erdoğan blasted Kılıçdaroğlu for “lying,” claiming that “these five people have never sent money to this company or place.”
“On the contrary, they received money because they had sold their existing companies. Money was not sent there ... For those who understand commerce, trade and entrepreneurship, there is no problem in these actions,” he said.