Opposition MP seeks parliamentary commission to investigate Turks in Pandora Papers

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An opposition politician in Turkey has submitted a motion to the Turkish Parliament seeking the establishment of a parliamentary commission to investigate Turks mentioned in the Pandora Papers and how they were complicit in tax avoidance, BBC Turkish service reported.

The Pandora Papers refers to a leak of some 12 million documents that reveal hidden wealth and tax avoidance by some of the world’s rich and powerful, with offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), Luxembourg and Seychelles.

The motion was submitted by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Ali Haydar Hakverdi.

Hakverdi said 220 people from Turkey are revealed in the papers, most of whom are pro-government businesspeople and contractors who have been awarded public tenders and loans worth of billions of dollars from state banks for those projects.

Hakverdi recalled that although eight countries have announced that they will initiate investigations into people mentioned in the Pandora Papers, Turkish prosecutors have thus far taken no action on the claims.

The lawmaker said a commission to be established in parliament should conduct a thorough investigation into the people and their alleged tax avoidance through offshore companies.

Ahmet Çalık, the fifth richest man in Turkey with a fortune worth $1.5 billion; Mehmet Cengiz, chairman of Cengiz Holding, one of five holdings that have been awarded nearly all the large tenders in Turkey during President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s time in office; and Revna Demirören, wife of the owner of Demirören Holding, which owns Turkey’s largest media group and supports Erdoğan, are some of the pro-government figures who were identified in the Pandora Papers.

Having secret offshore assets is not illegal in Turkey as in many parts of the world. Still, experts say a complex network of secret companies to move assets around can be a way to hide illegal profits.

According to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which published the Pandora Papers, an estimated $5.6 trillion to $32 trillion is hidden offshore.

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