PM Yıldırım demands probe into offshore account allegations
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has demanded a probe into the "Paradise Paper" claims, which have linked eight companies affiliated with his family with the offshore tax haven of Malta. Yıldırım made the demand on Nov. 7 at Ankara's Eseboğa Airport, shortly before his trip to Washington, D.C.
"My main advice to my sons (as I handed them my business) was that they would not use any government funds or cooperate with the government while executing their businesses," Yıldırım said.
"(My sons) are doing business all over the world; nothing is hidden," the Prime Minister added, saying the claims attempt to "unjustly" defame him.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu criticized Yıldırım for “not paying taxes,” referring to the Paradise Papers revelations.
“A politician should set an example to citizens. If you want something from the people, first you have to do it yourself [as a politician]. If you ask people to pay their taxes, why do you not pay them?” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
“Why are you establishing companies in Malta? Why in a tax haven? You are telling citizens to pay taxes but you are taking your earnings elsewhere,” he added.
HDP to issue motion for investigation
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), meanwhile, will issue a parliamentary motion demanding an investigation into the issue, its co-leader Serpil Kemalbay has said.
“The prime minister has said everything is normal and that his sons are engaging in business. He says he has immunity but his sons do not. So now we’ll issue a parliamentary motion for an investigation. If you think there should be an investigation, as the AKP you should support this motion,” Kemalbay said on Nov. 7, addressing the HDP’s party group.
“The AKP-presidential palace power, which calls on others to invest in our country, is making its own investments in Malta, in tax havens. They present themselves as patriots to the public, but we see that their patriotism is for Malta. Their love of the flag is love for the flag of Malta,” she added.
According to papers published and reported by German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, in cooperation with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), in which Turkish daily Cumhuriyet is a media partner, there are a total of eight Malta-based companies affiliated with Yıldırım’s sons, uncles and nephews.
The Paradise Papers stated that the Turkish prime minister’s sons, Erkam Yıldırım and Bülent Yıldırım, have a total of five companies based on the low-tax Mediterranean island.
One of the companies, Black Eagle Marine Co Ltd, was founded on Oct. 7, 2007, involved in the buying and selling of sea vessels and providing credit to third parties, the papers revealed, Cumhuriyet reported.
Another one, Hawke Bay Marine Co Ltd. was founded on April 1, 2004 and remained active until April 2007, engaging in the same activities as Black Eagle Marine Co Ltd.
Erkam Yıldırım is also reportedly associated with three other companies through the South Seas Shipping company, which is a shareholder in Hawke Bay Marine Co Ltd and Black Eagle Marine Co Ltd.