CHP reopens case over mysterious gold trade from Ghana
A cargo plane carrying one-and-half tons of gold to Iran as part of a deal pertaining to Iranian businessman Babak Zanjani was grounded in early June in 2013 by the Turkish Customs Directorate. DHA PhotoAn opposition lawmaker has initiated reopening the case of mysterious gold trade from Ghana to Dubai via Istanbul early 2013.
The developments come through a parliamentary question on the role of the Foreign Ministry in easing procedures for the plane in question to leave the Istanbul airport, although it had been seized by the Customs Directorate, due to its suspect cargo.
Umut Oran, a deputy from the ranks of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), July 7 introduced his second parliamentary question in one week to the parliamentary speaker’s office, this time, raising important questions on the Foreign Ministry’s role in shady gold trade and the actual amount of the gold. A cargo plane carrying one-and-half tons of gold to Iran as part of a deal pertaining to Iranian businessman Babak Zanjani was grounded in early June in 2013 by the Turkish Customs Directorate because of the cargo’s poor documentation.
The plane was allowed to leave Turkey with its cargo after necessary measures were completed later in 2013, leaving important questions about the gold transaction and Turkey’s role in the process unanswered. The issue was brought back to Turkey’s agenda after Dec. 17, 2013, when the judiciary launched a massive corruption and graft operation engulfing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his four ministers’ relations with an Iranian-origin businessman, Reza Zarrab. Zarrab is believed to have strong trade relations with Zanjani and reportedly eased the transfer of billions of dollars-worth of gold to Iran via Turkey.
Oran recalled that the Foreign Ministry demanded all of the necessary documents and information about the grounded plane on Jan. 8 from the Customs Directorate in an atypical manner, as the ministry does not usually deal with such issues.
Recalling that physical inspections on the cargo had shown there was in fact 1,208 kilograms of gold on the plane, although it was declared at 1,500 kilograms, Oran asked, “Is gold such a material that can shrink? Can 292 kilograms of gold evaporate in that period of time? What happened to 292 kilograms of gold?”
Although the cargo plane presented fraudulent documents and incorrect information about its cargo, Oran asked “Why was the plane granted the license to leave the airport?”