Turkish opposition leader ordered to pay damages for revealing Erdoğan family’s offshore holdings

An İstanbul court on Thursday ordered Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to pay TL 197,000 ($43,500) in damages over his claims suggesting that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his close circle sent money to an offshore company in the Isle of Man in 2011 for the purposes of tax evasion, the T24 news website reported.

Kılıçdaroğlu reacted to the news saying: “I will win the case eventually. Where? Not even in Turkey; I will win the case at the European Court of Human Rights.”

According to the ruling Kılıçdaroğlu will pay TL 110,000 to Erdoğan; TL 15,000 to his son, Ahmet Burak Erdoğan; TL 17,000 to Ziya İlgen, Erdoğan’s brother-in-law; TL 25,000 to his brother Mustafa Erdoğan; TL 20,000 to Osman Ketenci, his son’s father-in-law; and TL 10,000 to Mustafa Gündoğan, Erdoğan’s former executive assistant. They, together with Erdoğan himself, had sued Kılıçdaroğlu for a total of TL 1,500,000, claiming that the allegations were completely false.

The court verdict also stated that Kılıçdaroğlu’s claims were “completely false.”

During the case, Kılıçdaroğlu’s lawyer, Celal Çelik, had thrown off his lawyer’s robe and stormed out of the courtroom in protest at what he perceived as the case being illegally accelerated in order to deliver a positive decision for Erdoğan as quickly as possible.

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in February decided on non-prosecution after the CHP handed over documents the party claimed showed money transactions to an offshore company on the Isle of Man. Kılıçdaroğlu had displayed the documents during a speech in November 2017.

The prosecutor’s office asked the Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK) to investigate the money transactions, which showed only a one-way transfer from the Bellway Co. on the Isle of Man to the accounts of Ziya İlgen, Osman Ketenci and Mustafa Erdoğan.

According to the prosecutor, MASAK’s investigation matched the CHP’s documents, which failed to prove any transactions from Turkey to the Isle of Man.

The decision was then sent to the İstanbul court, where Erdoğan and his close circle had filed a lawsuit against Kılıçdaroğlu. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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