Meetings create trouble to Council of State head
Council of State head Hüseyin Karakullukçu is accused of meeting with a suspect. AA photoIstanbul prosecutors are probing claims that Yalçın Bayrak, an alleged member of a criminal organization, pursued illicit contacts with the Council of State in regards to penalties given to the companies of a man who was arrested for leading a fictitious export organization.
The investigations revealed that Bayrak had met with the head of the Council of State, Hüseyin Karakullukçu, that Bayrak had secured appointments on multiple dates from Karakullukçu’s secretary for meeting with the court’s head, and that some of these appointments had been kept. The investigation file includes these findings.
The investigation, considered the biggest fictitious exports investigation in recent years, was conducted by Büyükçekmece Public Prosecutor Mustafa Kemal Gül; Karakullukçu, meanwhile, was also involved in the case.
The investigation began when a claim of fraud amounting to about 100 million Turkish Liras was made by telephone to the Istanbul Police Department’s Financial Crime Division on June 16, 2011. The investigation closely followed all the activities of the criminal organization, which had been founded to conduct fictitious exports, for about a year.
While the police were following the activities of Barbaros Hayrettin Aksoy, one of the two leaders of the organization, authorities investigated whether Aksoy, who was detained during the investigation, had requested support from Karakullukçu with the aid of Bayrak, who according to the files, is also a member of the organization.
According to the law, fabrics imported from China must be exported after they are brought to Turkey through Germany and transformed into a commodity. However, instead of these procedures, the organization offered the fabrics on the domestic market and received a value added tax return by making it appear as if the commodities had been exported. The investigation revealed that the organization conducted fictitious exports in this way and that Bayrak engaged in important activities for the organization.
Bayrak calls Aksoy
After an official request, Ankara police began following Bayrak closely. Bayrak went to Ankara on Feb. 15 to meet a person at a hotel in Çankaya; together they visited the former building of the Council of State in Sıhhiye the same day at 4:30 p.m. After entering the building with documents that are assumed to be files, Bayrak and his companion left the building at 5:40 p.m. and conducted a telephone conversation in front of a vehicle with the license plate 20 H 5948 that was parked in front of the building. Bayrak then got into his companion’s vehicle and left, after which he called and informed Aksoy about the visit. The police continued to follow Bayrak and found that the suspect returned to Ankara again on Feb. 26, met with Karakullukçu and requested an appointment from him. The police also found that Bayrak and Karakullukçu had met in a vehicle on March 12, 2012.
Customs broker files complaint
Later, a customs broker at the Halkalı Revenue Office filed a complaint petition with the Büyükçekmece Public Prosecutor’s Office against three companies on the grounds that there were irregularities in some export and import procedures. Upon the complaint, the revenue office took action and exchanged correspondence with a bank aiding businessmen with export and import activities.
Fictitious bank offices
The bank stated that they had only made one of the transactions and that they were not responsible for the other three. The Halkalı Revenue Office’s records were then retrospectively examined, revealing that the activities were conducted at false addresses under the name of another businessman in bank financing with ample resources. The organization of a businessman named C.D., who is engaged in commercial activities in İzmir, had rented two apartments in the Ataşehir district of Istanbul to show as the bank’s headquarters and branch. One of the apartments was used as the fictitious headquarters, and the other one was used as the fictitious branch of the bank.
The investigation revealed that the suspects had connections with a number of senior officials working at the Economy Ministry of and the Customs and Trade Ministry. Upon these findings, the prosecutor’s office took testimony from ministry officials, including civil servants such as the undersecretary and deputy secretary.
The deputy chair of the parliamentary group of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Muharrem İnce, submitted a motion to the Parliament Speaker’s Office yesterday to be addressed by Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin.
İnce asked Ergin whether it was “ethical” for Karakullukçu to have meetings with people who are under police surveillance within the framework of an investigation into “fictitious export.” This term is widely used to describe forgery via the acquisition of export subsidies from the state for exports that are based on fictitious documentation.
İnce also asked Ergin whether Karakullukçu would resign from his post if news reports concerning his involvement with suspects were proven true.