4 former Milli Görüş executives in Germany get suspended sentences for tax evasion

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A German court on Friday handed down suspended jail sentences for tax evasion to four former executives of a Milli Görüş association, a Turkish-Islamist network active in Europe, Deutsche Welle (DW) Turkish service reported.

Defendants Yavuz Çelik Karahan, Oğuz Üçüncü, Ali Bozkurt and İsa Erdener all attended their final hearing.

The court ruled that the association evaded taxes in the amount of €2.2 million while organizing pilgrimage and Umrah trips to Mecca for Muslims in Germany. The organization had paid the back taxes to the German state during the investigation.

Üçüncü, the former general secretary of the association, told DW they had made a mistake but did not use the money for personal purposes.

Mustafa Kaplan, the lawyer for Karahan, also said the former executives had already been punished for their negligence, avoided heavier sentences.

The investigation into the association was launched in 2009 when German police raided 26 Milli Görüş branches in 17 cities. The network includes 320 mosque associations in Germany with some 120,000 members.

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