Key figure in graft probe withdraws defamation case after Iran application
Umut Erdem – ANKARA
Reza Zarrab, who is of Iranian origin, was accused of bribing a number of Turkish officials.Reza Zarrab, the controversial businessman involved in the bribery claims in Turkey’s suppressed graft probe, has withdrawn his defamation case against Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli.
The decision came on Dec. 16, as the court hearing the case awaited documents from Iranian officials on his business ties in the neighboring country.
Zarrab, who is of Iranian origin, was accused of bribing a number of officials, including former Cabinet ministers, but all related lawsuits in Turkey have been dropped. The claims are now being probed by a parliamentary inquiry.
Zarrab businessman had sued MHP leader Bahçeli and MHP deputy Semih Yalçın for calling him a “charlatan.”
Upon a demand from Bahçeli’s lawyers, the court requested information and documents from an Iranian parliamentary commission, which is currently probing Zarrab’s ties to Babak Zanjani, an alleged partner of Zarrab who was arrested in Iran on corruption accusations.
Zarrab’s lawyer has since told the court that his client is withdrawing from the lawsuit, as the court awaits a response from the Iranian Parliament.
The Iranian businessman had demanded 100,000 Turkish Liras from the MHP leader after the latter made a speech in the southern Turkish province of Kahramanmaraş, ahead of the March 30 local elections. However, Bahçeli and Yalçın later repeated the wording, opening the way for another 100,000 lira lawsuit.
Zarrab has also filed a number of complaints against main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.