Arrest orders on 41 suspects in second graft probe lifted

Arrest orders on 41 suspects in second graft probe lifted

The arrest orders on 41 suspects that came as part of a second graft probe, which have allegedly not been carried out, were lifted on Jan. 16.

The decision follows the removal of an asset freeze issued for seven businessmen and two companies three days ago.

The second investigation surfaced in a controversial way after the prosecutor in charge, Muammer Akkaş, publically announced that he had been removed from the case on Dec. 27, while also revealing that his arrest orders had not been carried out by security forces despite court warrants.

The list of names contained in the official prosecution documents, obtained by daily Hürriyet, included executives from companies that were part of a consortium that won the contract to build Istanbul’s third airport, such as Limak chair Nihat Özdemir, Kalyon executives Orhan Cemal Kalyoncu and Ömer Faruk Kalyoncu, and the board member of Kolin, Celal Koloğlu.

Saudi businessman Yasin al-Qadi, who has been accused of financing terrorism in the past, and Mustafa Latif Topbaş, the owner of the BİM discount retailer, were also among the 41 suspects charged with “founding a criminal organization,” “bribery and influence peddling,” “tender fraud,” “forgery in official documents,” “clearing assets acquired through criminal activity” and “threats.”

The decision came shortly after a massive purge in the judiciary following a decision from the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK).

Prosecutor Akkaş is among the names to have been reassigned, while Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ has also given permission for investigations to be launched against three Istanbul prosecutors, including Akkaş.