The accounts of pro-Erdoğan Sabah daily newspaper’s edition in Germany were confiscated by the German Ministry of Finance because of some irregularities were detected during the inspections on the accounts of the last 10 years, according to a report by TR724 online news outlet.
According to the report, the finance ministry punished the company of the newspaper with 675 thousand euros (about 3 million TL) last March. In the inspection of the Ministry, it was determined that the newspaper had been deliberately damaged for 10 years.
It was claimed that, despite the newspaper which sells about one thousand copies per day, tens of thousands of euros have been sent regularly from Turkey every month, and the company was kept standing in this way.
Despite this financial damages, it was noticed that high amount of payments were paid for those who were hired under the name of ‘transfer fee’ and ‘high salary.’ In addition, the financial inspectors also reported that to those, who were dismissed from the newspaper, were given high amount of compensation without litigation.
According to the report, German Ministry of Finance demanded the financial loses of the company for the last 5 years. But later, Sabah offered compromise and announced that they only wanted to pay the penalty for the 2015 financial year.
It is stated that the Ministry of Finance accepted the request and confiscated the accounts of the company until the penalty was paid. Since the accounts are confiscated, the sales and advertising revenues of the journal go directly to the ministry’s safe. It is unknown how much the Ministry has collected so far.
The Sabah daily has also confirmed that the tax penalty from its own pages. In the news of the newspaper, it was alleged that the criminal decision was for ‘political reasons’. “Being the voice of 5 million Turks who were exposed to racism and discrimination in Europe and announcing the human rights violations of Germany have annoyed Angela Merkel’s administration.
“Germany has become the base of terrorist organizations such as FETÖ (FETÖ is a derogatory term and acronym for the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization, coined by Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the AKP government to refer to the Gülen movement) which committed murders on 15 July coup attempt and the bloody PKK, which turned Turkey into bloodshed. And now Germany tried to silence Sabah with unlawful tax penalties,” said the statement published by the paper.
The sanctions imposed on Sabah may not be limited to financial penalty. A source close to the case said that criminal cases could be opened against newspaper administrators. This is because the German Penal Code (Strafgezetsbuch / STGB) has provisions for imprisonment on shareholders or executives who fail to file an insolvency or claim to be insolvent if the company is in loss.
It is noted that the prosecutor may take the statement of Sabah administrators to find out why the source of the damage was transferred and to find out the source of this money.
Sabah daily in Turkey is a mouthpiece of despotic regime of Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who closed down more than 180 media outlets, jailed tens of thousands of people and hundreds of journalists. Turkey under the Erdoğan regime is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world.
The most recent figures documented by the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has showed that 282 journalists and media workers are now in jails as of September 23, 2017, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 257 are arrested pending trial, only 25 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 135 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey.