Turkish PM and sons file lawsuit against journalist over Paradise Papers reports

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and his sons have filed a lawsuit against a journalist for her investigation into offshore tax havens, independent news site T24 reported.

The lawsuit is a follow up to a defamation action  filed in July by Yildirim, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son-in-law and Minister of Finance and Treasury Berat Albayrak, and members of their families against investigative journalist Pelin Ünker and her newspaper Cumhuriyet for their coverage of Paradise Papers. 

An international network of over 380 journalists combed over the 13.4 million documents from tax havens leaked to German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung in the so-called “Paradise Papers” in 2017, exposing the activities of powerful individuals and companies in these areas.

Ünker’s investigative report covering the papers focused on non-transparent transactions by powerful individuals close to the Turkish president, suggesting tax avoidance by these individuals, includingYıldırım, whose sons, Erkam and Bülent Yıldırım, were shown to be shareholders in five offshore companies in Malta.

Yıldırm and his sons’ earlier this year demanded Ünker pay 500,000 liras for the infringement of their personal rights; the court has yet to deliver a verdict on the matter.

‘’We were expecting this, but I don’t know why they filed a defamation suit before filing a [seperate] lawsuit,’’ Ünker said.

The first hearing for the case is set to take place in İstanbul on Dec. 27.