Mafia boss’ claims cast pall over Biden-Erdogan meeting

Mafia boss’ claims cast pall over Biden-Erdogan meeting
Sedat Peker. (Photo/Twitter)
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Updated 07 June 2021

Mafia boss’ claims cast pall over Biden-Erdogan meeting

Mafia boss’ claims cast pall over Biden-Erdogan meeting
  • Crime fugitive alleges minister warned corrupt businessman Sezgin Baran Korkmaz to flee country

JEDDAH: Most Turks were eagerly awaiting Sunday to watch the latest video and whistleblowing claims from a notorious gangland figure who was close to the government until recently.

In his ninth video, Turkey’s fugitive mafia leader Sedat Peker, who is believed to live in Dubai, claimed that Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu had alerted corrupt businessman Sezgin Baran Korkmaz to flee the country to avoid prosecution.

Last September, US prosecutors in Utah submitted a list of properties belonging to the Kingston brothers, Korkmaz’s business partners, to a US court and asked them to be reclaimed, as they were found guilty to a $470 million fraud of a government program.

These properties included companies and real estate in Turkey.

US authorities revealed that the brothers transferred huge sums of money in fraudulent proceeds to several companies, some in Turkey, on the instruction of Armenian-Turkish businessman Lev Aslan Dermen, who was allegedly financing Korkmaz’s business activities in Turkey.

In early May, Turkish prosecutors prepared an indictment into Korkmaz over money laundering through the transfer of his income in the US illegally to the companies he owns as part of a decade-long scheme to cheat US authorities out of at least $470 million.

Peker claimed that on Dec. 5, Korkmaz and Soylu met in the interior ministry in Ankara for two hours, and the minister warned Korkmaz that he was being investigated.

Korkmaz fled the country the next day. A detention warrant was issued for Korkmaz as part of a probe into money laundering worth $132 million.

Peker, who said that Korkmaz was invited to the ministry headquarters by a deputy police chief, urged opposition parties to check all security footage of that day when the businessman was filmed when entering the ministry building.

The gangland boss also claimed that a critical $45 million money transaction between Korkmaz and a Turkish businessman was also known to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The transaction came from a purchase made by Korkmaz in September 2020 of Luxembourg-based Silcolux Investment. Forty-five percent of the shares in the company were owned by Turkish businessman Inan Kirac.

This purchase gave Korkmaz 45 percent of the shares of Kirac and about one third of Karsan Automotive a partner of a large group that is designing Turkey’s first indigenous car — one of Erdogan’s “signature” projects.

Last year, Kirac asked Korkmaz to return his shares after the money laundering investigation, but he refused. A deal was reached later after the intervention of the Turkish presidency, Peker claimed.

Peker, a former ally of the Turkish government, has released bombshell videos in which he confesses to corrupt activities and details his partnership with senior government figures.

The mafia boss also fled Turkey due to an approaching investigation against him. He was promised a return to his homeland in April, but a nationwide police operation was launched in April targeting him and his associates.

Although the allegations have shaken Turkish domestic politics, the government has yet to react strongly or provide convincing answers to the claims.

Peker’s latest video, entitled “We are growing not by aging and living, but by resisting,” has been watched by more than 6.6 million people since early Sunday.

With Erdogan and his US counterpart Joe Biden meeting on June 14 at NATO summit, how the US authorities react to the bombshell claims about a key person involved in a major fraud scheme in the US is a source of concern.

Peker said that Metin Kulunk, a senior figure in Turkish domestic politics and a former deputy from the ruling Justice and Development Party, recently asked him not to release the video before the Erdogan-Biden meeting.

However, this request appears to have further irritated the mafia boss who claims that wants to take revenge on government officials who were involved in raids on his residence.

In the same video, Peker said he was giving money to Kulunk every month during election periods, and was also sending money to German-based associations connected with the Turkish government in order to support their criminal activities.

In recent years, the German press revealed close links between Kulunk, a confidant of Erdogan, with a boxing group named Osmanen Germania that was involved in organized crime.

The gang was accused of targeting opponents of the Turkish government, especially Kurds living in Germany.

German media, especially Frontal 21, an investigative news program on public broadcaster ZDF and the daily Stuttgarter Nachrichten, accused Kulunk of providing the gang with money to buy weapons and organize protests.

The investigation into the group, which is believed to have 2,500 members in Germany, was based on phone taps and monitoring.

German police revealed that the boxing group had close contact with the Union of European Turkish Democrats, the ruling Justice and Development Party’s lobbying group abroad.


United Nations praises Saudi Arabia's 'bold and courageous' climate change plans revealed at SGI 2021

United Nations praises Saudi Arabia's 'bold and courageous' climate change plans revealed at SGI 2021
Updated 1 min 48 sec ago

United Nations praises Saudi Arabia's 'bold and courageous' climate change plans revealed at SGI 2021

United Nations praises Saudi Arabia's 'bold and courageous' climate change plans revealed at SGI 2021

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the UN today, according to the country's Energy Minister.

INDCs are instruments set out under the Paris Agreement that allow the UN to assess how the world is tackling climate change.

Addressing the Saudi Green Initiative Forum in Riyadh, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman revealed the details had been sent via email.

Reacting to the annoucement, Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said: "This is certainly the kind of leadership that the world needs precisely at this time and I want to commend His Royal Highness, the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for this very bold and courageous decisions that send a powerful signal just a few days before we start the conference in Glasgow. 

She added: “This is what we need; we need countries to come to cope with great decisions, bold decisions with high level of ambition — we need to have the clarity of these pathways of the deadlines that we established so I wholeheartedly commend and express my gratitude for a very important oil producing country is really a game changing, history changing decision."

 


Global energy transition will take time, UAE state minister says

Global energy transition will take time, UAE state minister says
Updated 21 min 34 sec ago

Global energy transition will take time, UAE state minister says

Global energy transition will take time, UAE state minister says
  • Al-Jaber, who is also the chief executive officer of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) Group, said the world is entering an oil supply crunch

RIYADH: UAE Minister of State Sultan Al-Jaber said the world “need to accept” that global energy transition will take time. 

Al-Jaber, who is also the chief executive officer of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) Group, said the world is entering an oil supply crunch. 

He added 80 percent of energy demand is still coming from fossil fuel, and the world is “underinvesting” in hydrocarbons. 


Saudi energy minister optimistic Kingdom can achieve net carbon zero before 2060 

Saudi energy minister optimistic Kingdom can achieve net carbon zero before 2060 
Updated 23 October 2021

Saudi energy minister optimistic Kingdom can achieve net carbon zero before 2060 

Saudi energy minister optimistic Kingdom can achieve net carbon zero before 2060 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said the Kingdom might reach the net carbon zero target ahead of the 2060 mark. 

The minister was building on earlier statements by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during the Saudi Green Initiative in Riyadh. 

Carbon reduction efforts, including investing in renewable energy and the circular economy, will help the Kingdom achieve this goal, the energy minister said. 


Saudi Arabia to reach net zero carbon by 2060: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Saudi Arabia to reach net zero carbon by 2060: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
Updated 26 min 55 sec ago

Saudi Arabia to reach net zero carbon by 2060: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Saudi Arabia to reach net zero carbon by 2060: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the Kingdom is aiming to achieve net carbon neutrality by 2060, during a speech to the Saudi Green Initiative forum in Riyadh on Saturday.

The Crown Prince said Saudi Arabia aims to reduce its carbon emissions by 278 million tons per year by 2030, with the adoption of the Carbon Circular Economy — based on zero waste — will help reach the target.

The Kingdom will also join the Global Methane Pledge to contribute to cutting global methane emissions by 30 percent by 2030, as part of its commitment to deliver a cleaner, greener future.

The Crown Prince said the Kingdom will plant 450 million trees and rehabilitate 8 million hectares of degraded lands by 2030, reducing 200 million tons of carbon emissions with additional initiatives to be announced in the years to come

To further amplify its protection of terrestrial, marine and coastal environments, the Crown Prince announced that Saudi Arabia is joining the Global Ocean Alliance, establishing the Ocean Exploration Foundation and announcing a number of initiatives – including a Global Center for Tourism Sustainability.

He added that this first set of initiatives represents over 700 billion Saudi riyals contributing to the growth of the green economy.

The Crown Prince said: “The Saudi Green Initiative will provide huge investment opportunities for the private sector, quality job opportunities for the next generation of leaders in the Kingdom and enhanced international relationships that will have a positive impact on the region and the world.”


Saudi Green Initiative forum

Saudi Green Initiative forum
Updated 40 min 22 sec ago

Saudi Green Initiative forum

Saudi Green Initiative forum

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman opened the Saudi Green Initiative forum in Riyadh place on Saturday, announcing the Kingdom’s new “green” objectives.

The forum will discuss Saudi Arabia's environmental efforts with guests that include high-profile government leaders and international personalities.

"We announce in this Forum the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's roadmap for protecting the environment and confronting climate change. This annual forum will serve as a platform to launch our new environmental initiatives and monitor the impact of the previously announced ones," the Crown Prince said. 

"I am pleased to launch initiatives in the energy sector that will reduce carbon emissions by (278) million tons annually by 2030, thus voluntarily more than doubling the target announced, estimated at (130) million tons annually," he added.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also announced the Kingdom's accession to the Global Methane Pledge, "which aims to reduce methane emissions globally by 30 percent."

The Crown Prince also announced Saudi Arabia’s intention to join the Global Oceans Alliance, the Alliance to Eliminate Plastic Waste in Oceans and Beaches, the Sports for Climate Action Agreement, and to establish a global center for Sustainable Tourism, and a Non-Profit foundation to explore the seas and oceans.

"I look forward to the Middle East Green Initiative Summit, which we will host the day after tomorrow, with the aim of synergizing and coordinating efforts among the countries of the region to develop the plans necessary to reach the Middle East Green Initiative target," he concluded. 

Other Saudi ministers will also be speaking at the forum, exploring specific themes around business and the environment, marine and ocean life, and the oil and gas industry. 

Big corporate icons, including Paddy Padmanathan of ACWA Power and Jasper Graf of Daystar Power US, are also participating in the forum.