Mafia boss’s claims cast veil over Biden-Erdogan meeting

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DJEDDAH: Most Turks were eagerly awaiting Sunday to watch the latest video and denunciation statements from a notorious gang figure who was close to the government until recently.

In his ninth video, Turkish fugitive mafia boss Sedat Peker, who is believed to be living in Dubai, claimed that Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu alerted corrupt businessman Sezgin Baran Korkmaz to flee the country to avoid prosecution.

Last September, U.S. prosecutors in Utah submitted to a U.S. court a list of properties owned by the Kingston brothers, Korkmaz’s business partners, and asked them to recover them, as they were convicted of fraud. $ 470 million from a government program.

These properties included businesses and real estate in Turkey.

US authorities have revealed that the brothers transferred huge sums of money in fraudulent products to several companies, some in Turkey, on the instruction of Armenian-Turkish businessman Lev Aslan Dermen, who allegedly financed the business activities. from Korkmaz in Turkey.

In early May, Turkish prosecutors prepared an indictment against Korkmaz for money laundering through the illegal transfer of his income in the United States to the companies he owns as part of a ten-year scheme aimed at to deceive US authorities by at least $ 470 million.

Peker claimed that on December 5, Korkmaz and Soylu met at the Interior Ministry in Ankara for two hours, and the minister warned Korkmaz that he was under investigation.

Korkmaz fled the country the next day. An arrest warrant has been issued for Korkmaz in connection with a $ 132 million money laundering investigation.

Peker, who said Korkmaz was invited to the ministry headquarters by a deputy police chief, urged opposition parties to check all security footage from the day the businessman was filmed entering in the ministry building.

The gang boss also claimed that a critical $ 45 million money transaction between Korkmaz and a Turkish businessman was also known to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The transaction stems from a takeover by Korkmaz in September 2020 of the Luxembourg company Silcolux Investment. Forty-five percent of the company’s shares were owned by Turkish businessman Inan Kirac.

The purchase gave Korkmaz 45% of the shares in Kirac and about a third of Karsan Automotive, a partner of a large group that designs Turkey’s first indigenous car – one of Erdogan’s “signature” projects.

Last year, Kirac asked Korkmaz to return his shares after the money laundering investigation, but he refused. An agreement was reached later after the Turkish presidency intervened, Peker said.

Peker, a former Turkish government ally, has posted explosive videos in which he confesses to corrupt activities and details his partnership with senior government officials.

The mafia boss has also fled Turkey due to an impending investigation against him. He was promised a return to his homeland in April, but a national police operation was launched in April against him and his associates.

Although the allegations have shaken Turkish domestic politics, the government has yet to react strongly or provide convincing answers to the allegations.

Peker’s latest video, titled “We Don’t Grow Old and Live, We Grow Up Resisting,” has been watched by more than 6.6 million people since Sunday morning.

With Erdogan and his US counterpart Joe Biden meeting on June 14 at the NATO summit, the reaction of US authorities to explosive claims about a key person involved in a major fraud scheme in the United States is cause for concern.

Peker said Metin Kulunk, a senior Turkish domestic policy official and former MP for the ruling Justice and Development Party, recently asked him not to release the video before the Erdogan-Biden meeting.

However, this request seems to have angered the Mafia boss even more, who claims to want revenge on government officials involved in raids on his residence.

In the same video, Peker said he gives Kulunk money every month during election periods and also sends money to German-based associations linked to the Turkish government to support their activities. criminal.

In recent years, the German press has revealed close links between Kulunk, a confidant of Erdogan, with a boxing group named Osmanen Germania which was involved in organized crime.

The gang was accused of targeting opponents of the Turkish government, in particular Kurds living in Germany.

German media, in particular Frontal 21, an investigative news program on state broadcaster ZDF and the daily Stuttgarter Nachrichten, accused Kulunk of providing the gang with money to buy weapons and organize protests.

The investigation into the group, which is believed to have 2,500 members in Germany, was based on wiretapping and surveillance.

German police revealed that the boxing group had close contacts with the Union of European Turkish Democrats, the lobbying group for the ruling Justice and Development Party abroad.



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