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Court orders opposition leader to pay $74,000 in damages to Turkish president

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An İstanbul court on Wednesday ordered Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to pay TL 359,000 ($74,000) in non-pecuniary damages for 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, Hürriyet reported.

Kılıçdaroğlu in November 2017 said Erdoğan’s close circle sent about $15 million to an offshore company called Bellway Limited on the Isle of Man.

Erdoğan and other family members filed several lawsuits against Kılıçdaroğlu following the statement.

In June, Kılıçdaroğlu also lost two other lawsuits in cases related to the Turkish president and was ordered to pay TL 339,000 ($70,000) in damages to Erdoğan and his relatives.

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.

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.

On July 13, Kılıçdaroğlu was ordered by a Turkish court to pay TL 95,000 ($19,500) in non-pecuniary damages for allegedly insulting President Erdoğan.

A Turkish court also ordered CHP deputy chair and party spokesperson Bülent Tezcan to pay non-pecuniary damages in the amount of TL 30,000 ($6,200) for calling Erdoğan a “fascist dictator.”

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