The second graft probe, reported to be larger than the first, which has shaken the government, was made public with great controversy after the head prosecutor of the case announced the investigation files were “taken from his hands.” CİHAN photo
Prominent businessmen were among the 41 suspects who were issued arrest orders in the second corruption probe, daily Hürriyet reported Dec. 27.
The list of names contained in the official prosecution documents obtained by the daily included Nihat Özdemir, the chairman of Limak group, who is part of a consortium which has won the contract to build Istanbul’s third airport, Saudi businessman Yasin al-Qadi, who has been accused of financing terrorism in the past and the owner of the BIM discount retailer, Mustafa Latif Topbaş.
The second graft probe, reported to be larger than the first one that has shaken the government, was made public with great controversy after the head prosecutor of the case announced the investigation files were “taken from his hands.”
Muammer Akkaş said in a statement Dec. 26 the arrest orders he made as part of the investigation were not carried out, despite having been conveyed to the police department.
The documents published by Hürriyet charged the suspects of “founding a criminal organization,” “bribery and influence peddling,” “tender fraud,” “forgery in official documents,” “clearing assets acquired through criminal activity” and “threats.”
Other names on the list included the executives of two other construction companies that are part of the joint venture which won Istanbul’s third airport tender, along with Limak: Orhan Cemal Kalyoncu and Ömer Faruk Kalyoncu board chairman and deputy chairman of Kalyon respectively as well as the board member of Kolin, Celal Koloğlu. The multifaceted businessman Abdullah Tivnikli, who is the partner of the Batı Hattı A.Ş., a company which holds Gazprom deals, and Abdullah Kavukçu, partner of Simit Sarayı, a popular chain of simit cafes, are also in the list.
Koloğlu rejected the accusations following the publication of the documents, telling Hürriyet he had no links with the charges directed at him. In the same vein, Kavukçu told Hürriyet the accusations were the result of the strength of their brand, adding he was ready to testify if summoned.
Four ministers were implicated in the graft probe that has rocked Turkey since last week.
The sons of former Interior Minister Muammer Güler and former Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan, who handed over their portfolios Dec. 26 after resigning, were among the 24 people who have been formally arrested under the corruption investigation.
The removal of the prosecutor from the second investigation stirred a huge outcry, especially among the opposition, but also inside the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Three AKP deputies resigned from the party on Dec. 27, criticizing its stance over the graft allegations.