A secret wiretap reveals that a Saudi businessman, at one time designated an al-Qaeda financier by both the UN Security Council and the US Treasury, wired half a million US dollars to the Turkish president’s younger son, Necmettin Bilal Erdoğan, in a corrupt business scheme.
According to the transcript of a phone conversation between Yasin al-Qadi and Bilal, wiretapped under a court order, al-Qadi asked for the president’s son’s bank account number and confirmed the amount to be sent as $500,000. Bilal said he was on his way to Washington, D.C., and added that he would send the bank details as soon as possible.
The conversation between the two took place on May 14, 2013 at 10:37 a.m. local time in Turkey. Turkish investigators wiretapped al-Qadi’s Turkish phone, registered under his caretaker Ekrem Cezayirli, a Turkish national. The wiretap was authorized by a judge in Istanbul on April 18, 2013.
Another wiretap, recorded on November 30, 2012, shows how al-Qadi moved his funds through Turkey. He called Islamic lender Albaraka’s Assistant General Manager Turgut Simitçioğlu, who was then in charge of Credit Operations, Foreign Transactions Operations, Payment Systems Operations, Banking Services Operations and Risk Monitoring for the bank, and asked him to wire $500,000 to a name and account he would send later.
Wiretap of a conversation between Yasin al-Qadi and Bilal Erdoğan:Yasin_al-Qadi_Bilal_Erdogan_500K_wiretap
Al-Qadi and Bilal were secret partners in Bosporus 360, a shell company company that was owned on paper by businessman Cengiz Aktürk and his wife Rabiya Aktürk. Cengiz was close to then-prime minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The investigation revealed that all of Bosporus 360’s assets belonged to al-Qadi, his son Muaz al-Qadi and an Egyptian national named Usama Qutb.
The project in question was planned for a 32-hectare plot of land located in the most valuable part of İstanbul that was occupied by the Etiler Police Academy. Bilal and his associates sought to build a shopping mall and a high-rise luxury residential complex on the site. They sought to buy the land at the lowest possible price and without a tender, and then to also get a permit allowing them to build at a height that exceeded the existing zoning restrictions.
Prosecutors claimed Bilal used his father’s influence to help purchase valuable land in various provinces at prices far below market value. He used the Foundation of Youth and Education in Turkey (TÜRGEV), which is run by him and other Erdoğan’s family members, as a cover to mask the shady business deals.
Al-Qadi was designated as al-Qaeda financier by the US Treasury, and the United Nations Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee listed him under terrorism as part of Security Council resolutions. The Turkish government also issued an official circular designating him as a terrorist, barring him from entering Turkey or transferring funds.
Yet he secretly made trips to Turkey including on Erdoğan’s official plane in 2011 when he was still under sanctions, followed by more trips under Erdoğan’s protection, meeting with Erdoğan, National Intelligence Organization (MİT) undersecretary Hakan Fidan and others.
Al-Qadi was later removed from the UN list, followed by the US Treasury delisting his name.
Another wiretap of al-Qadi reveals how he moved funds through Turkey:Yasin_al-Qadi_Bilal_Erdogan_500K_Turgut_Simitcioglu
Al-Qadi and Bilal were leading suspects in a corruption investigation pursued by prosecutors in Istanbul and were the subjects of detention warrants issued on December 25, 2013 by the prosecutors. However, Erdoğan stepped in, illegally preventing the execution of the warrants by ordering the police to ignore the prosecutors’ orders. After the removal of the prosecutors and police chiefs who were involved in the investigation, Erdoğan managed to whitewash the crimes of his associates.
In September 2015 Bilal moved to Italy with his wife and children to manage a number of foreign bank accounts following the June 7 parliamentary election, in which his father’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost its majority in Parliament. He had to flee Italy when a prosecutor there launched a criminal probe into his activities.
His father managed to regain his lost votes in a snap election held in November 2015, putting his political career back on track and giving confidence to Bilal that he would face no legal troubles in Turkey.