Turkey′s CHP reveals alleged documents showing Erdogan offshore money transfers | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 01.12.2017
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Turkey's CHP reveals alleged documents showing Erdogan offshore money transfers

The spokesperson for Turkey’s main opposition party has claimed that millions flowed between Turkish President Erdogan's inner circle and an offshore company. Erdogan says the charges are fake.

It has been a challenging week for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erogan. International attention has been focused on the testimony of Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab in an Iranian sanctions-evasion case allegedly involving former ministers in the president's government.

Back in Turkey, Erdogan is facing a claim from the country's main opposition party that it has documents proving that individuals within the president's inner circle made millions of dollars of offshore bank transactions to a British tax haven.

On Friday, the spokesperson for the Republican People's Party (CHP), Bulent Tezcan, held a news conference at the Turkish parliament, where he laid out his party's allegations against Erdogan and his inner circle.

Tezcan showed off documents to the assembled press, saying that they were bank receipts detailing a total of $15 million (€12.6 million) in transactions between Bellway Limited, a company established in August 2011 in the British Crown dependency of the Isle of Man, and Erdogan's close circle.

The British Isle has low-tax policies and is often described as a tax haven.

The allegedly involved individuals include some of the president's closest relatives: his son, Ahmet Burak Erdogan; his brother, Mustafa Erdogan; his brother-in-law, Ziya Ulgen; and the father-in-law of Ahmet Burak Erdogan, Osman Ketenci. Erdogan's former principal clerk Mustafa Gundogan was also allegedly involved.

Tezcan also distributed copies of the supposed original bank and SWIFT receipts to members of the press.

The veracity of the documents has yet to be verified. The CHP did not respond to a request for information from Deutsche Welle.  

Bulent Tezcan (picture alliance/AA/E. Aydin )

Tezcan is the spokesperson for the largest opposition party in the Turkish parliament

Company with £1 capital

The first bank-transfer accusations against Erdogan's family came from CHP head, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, on Tuesday during an address to party members at the parliament.

According to the CHP, the Bellway company was founded with only £1 capital ($1.14, $1.35) by a Turkish citizen named Sidki Ayan and was soon after transferred to another Turkish citizen named Kazim Oztas, still with the same amount of money.

As Tezcan alleged, the company made transactions worth $15 million in the span of only under 20 days around one month after the new owner took over.

Source of the money

While the alleged bank receipts Tezcan showed to the press showed total transaction value, the main question in Turkey revolves around the source of the money and the direction of the money flow.

Kilicdaroglu previously had said that money had been transferred into the Bellway company, but at the conference on Friday, Tezcan asked aloud how the Bellway company could have paid millions of dollars after having begun with capital of just £1.

"Two things come to one's mind: money laundering or tax evasion,” Tezcan said.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu (Getty Images/AFP/O. Kose)

Kilicdaroglu first claimed bank transfer proof on earlier this week. Erdogan has called him a liar and denied all claims.

The CHP spokesperson promised to hand over the alleged bank documents to the prosecutor. Ankara's Chief Public Prosecutor's Office had launched an investigation into the CHP accusations on Thursday.

The CHP has said that the issue is ethical and not criminal.

Read more: Offshore: the legal and the not so legal

Also on Thursday, the Turkish parliament rejected a motion put forth by the CHP calling for the body to further investigate the claims. The CHP is the main opposition party in the Turkish parliament, where Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) holds a majority.

'Not a cent'

Erdogan has denied the CHP's claims, stating that "not a cent" was sent abroad. He also called on Kilicdaroglu to prove the allegations. Speaking at an event on Thursday,  Erdogan said that Kilicdaroglu would "pay the price."

The president's lawyer has said that the documents CHP put forth were fake.

Erdogan has said he would resign if the claims were proved true.

Erdogan said that his acquaintances mentioned in CHP's allegations had sold a company and the money had been wired to them for that purpose. Erdogan did not elaborate on the details of a company owned by the five people or when and how it was sold.

Since the allegations first surfaced, Erdogan and his acquaintances have filed a lawsuit for moral indemnities against Kilicdaroglu worth 1.5 million Turkish lira ($383,000, €322,000).

Mahir Unal, the ruling AKP's spokesperson, said on Friday, that the issue would further be dealt with in court and not in the parliament.

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