Opposition leader to pay Erdoğan, close circle $29,000 in damages over offshore money transfer allegations

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Chairman of the Republican People's Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu makes a speech during his party's group meeting at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) in Ankara, Turkey on October 23, 2018. AFP PHOTOS

A Turkish court has ordered main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to pay President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, his relatives and one of his friends a total of TL 197,000 ($29,000) in damages for his allegations that they had secretly transferred money to an offshore company based in the Isle of Man, the BirGün newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The court ruled that Kılıçdaroğlu must pay TL 110,000 to Erdoğan, TL 15,000 to his son Ahmet Burak Erdoğan, TL 17,000 to his uncle Ziya İlgen, TL 25,000 to his brother Mustafa Erdoğan, TL 20,000 to his son’s father-in-law Osman Ketenci and TL 10,000 to his friend and businessperson Mustafa Gündoğan.

Kılıçdaroğlu alleged in a parliamentary group meeting in November 2017 that in 2011 the group had conducted transfers amounting to $18 million to an offshore company based in the Isle of Man, a tax haven. He produced SWIFT codes and bank receipts to back up his claims.

The allegations resulted in Kılıçdaroğlu being sued for damages by Erdoğan and his close circle.

After an initial court decision in November 2019 imposing a larger amount of damages was overturned by an appeals court, the case was heard again.

Members of the appeals court that overturned the initial ruling reportedly came under political pressure afterwards, with some members even being denied their right to leave without pay.

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