Demirören sweats under fraud claims

Demirören sweats under fraud claims

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Demirören sweats under fraud claims

Beşiktaş club is facing charges of tax fraud during Yıldırım Demirören’s spell according to a report prepared by the Finance Ministry. If he is found guilty, Demirören will not be able to run for a new post at the Turkish Football Federation chair. AA photo

The Beşiktaş sports club faces heavy legal punishment due to alleged tax fraud during former Chairman Yıldırım Demirören’s term at the club’s helm, daily Radikal has reported.

The former Beşiktaş board and current Turkish Football Federation (TFF) chairman will face the first hearing in a financial case at the Çağlayan Courthouse in Istanbul on May 24. The Beşiktaş board did not report earnings worth 52 million Turkish Liras between 2005 and 2007, meaning it failed to pay 9.4 million liras in taxes, a report prepared by the Finance Ministry stated

“The report says earnings from ticket sales, match broadcasting rights, and payments from the Turkish Football Federation were not fully disclosed,” daily Radikal reported yesterday. “More than 100 million Turkish Liras of earnings were reported as 56 million liras.”

A criminal case was opened on March 18, 2012 against Demirören and his board on charges of tax fraud. Prosecutors are seeking jail time ranging from 18 months to three years for then-members of the Beşiktaş board.

This may be the end

If he is found guilty, Demirören would have to step down from his post, daily Radikal said. According to article 38 of the Turkish Football Federation’s code, a person cannot run for the presidency if he is “found guilty on fraud or embezzlement charges,” which means Demirören could not enter the Federation elections next month.

Demirören was elected chairman of the TFF in March. In his eight-years as Beşiktaş chairman, Demirören took an unusual path, giving the club money believed to amount to as much as $100 million, which he claimed was “necessary in order to compete with” archrivals Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray.

When leaving the post he announced that he would not be asking for his money back, but then it was reported that he received assurances that he could seek the return of the money in the future.

Beşiktaş’s financial problems were the subject of a probe by European football’s governing body, UEFA, on May 1. The club was found guilty of “failure to pay its debts,” and escaped a ban on European qualification on the grounds that it should not repeat the fault in the next five years following the hearing by the UEFA’s Disciplinary Committee. Beşiktaş was previously asked by the UEFA for assurances that the club would pay its debts before playing in the Europa League competition. A failure to clear the debt could be seen as “tricking the UEFA,” the club’s new president, Fikret Orman, said before the hearing.