Leaks: Another alleged bribe delivery to former EU minister Bağış

Whistle blower Twitter user Haramzadeler uploaded new audio recordings on YouTube on Tuesday night which reveal that former EU Minister Egemen Bağış — about whom a number of sound recordings have already been leaked documenting his purported involvement in a bribery network — allegedly received $500,000 in a shoebox.

Bağış was forced to leave his post during a Cabinet reshuffle late in December 2013 after a graft probe went public, rocking the government.

Text accompanying the uploaded recordings claims that the audio was legally acquired through wiretapping and a man heard in them — who can be heard having a phone conversation with another man, allegedly Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab — is Bağış.

In one of the recordings, Zarrab calls Bağış to ask him if he is available for a “little chat,” and the former minister says he is free between 4 and 6 p.m. and will be in his office. In the next recording, the voice believed to be that of Zarrab can be heard speaking to a person believed to be Abdullah Happani, one of his employees.

Zarrab is heard instructing him to make a delivery of $500,000 and wants Happani to hastily gather this amount of money, put it in a box and bring it to Ortaköy, a neighborhood along the Bosporus. Happani says he will get a courier, “Halil,” to make the delivery.

After a short while, the two men can be heard talking again. This time, Zarrab wants to learn when the package of money is coming. Happani asks him to wait so he can check the whereabouts of the courier. They confirm that the money will be put in a shoebox and not a bag.

In the next recorded conversation, Zarrab can be heard asking Happani if he had sent dollars and not euros. Happani reassures him by saying the money was in dollars. “It felt like it was heavy. I said, ‘This guy sent the wrong money; we are doomed.’ I can’t remember if I told you it should be in dollars,” Zarrab says. He lightly chides Happani for his selection of a “weak” box to put the money in. “It [the money] nearly fell onto the ground,” he said.

Haramzadeler also attached video footage at the end of the audio recording. It shows a courier delivering a box to Zarrab, Zarrab entering what appears to be Bağış’s office and then him walking out without the box.

 

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About yavuzbaydar

Yavuz Baydar has been an award-winning Turkish journalist, whose professional activity spans nearly four decades. In December 2013, Baydar co-founded the independent media platform, P24, Punto24, to monitor the media sector of Turkey, as well as organizing surveys, and training workshops. Baydar wrote opinion columns, in Turkish, liberal daily Ozgur Dusunce and news site Haberdar, and in English, daily Today's Zaman, on domestic and foreign policy issues related to Turkey, and media matters, until all had to cease publications due to growing political oppression. Currently, he writes regular chronicles for Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, and opinion columns for the Arab Weekly, as well as analysis for Index on Censorship. Baydar blogs with the Huffington Post, sharing his his analysis and views on Turkish politics, the Middle East, Balkans, Europe, U.S-Turkish relations, human rights, free speech, press freedom, history, etc. His opinion articles appeared at the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Svenska Dagbladet, and Al Jazeera English online. Turkey’s first news ombudsman, beginning at Milliyet daily in 1999, Baydar worked in the same role as reader representative until 2014. His work included reader complaints with content, and commentary on media ethics. Working in a tough professional climate had its costs: he was twice forced to leave his job, after his self-critical columns on journalistic flaws and fabricated news stories. Baydar worked as producer and news presenter in Swedish Radio &TV Corp. (SR) Stockholm, Sweden between 1979-1991; as correspondent for Scandinavia and Baltics for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet between 1980-1992, and the BBC World Service, in early 1990's. Returning to Turkey in 1994, he worked as reporter and ediytor for various outlets in print, as well as hosting debate porogrammes in public and private TV channels. Baydar studied informatics, cybernetics and, later, had his journalism ediucatiob in the University of Stockholm. Baydar served as president of the U.S. based International Organizaton of News Ombudsmen (ONO) in 2003. He was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at University of Michigan in 2004. Baydar was given the Special Award of the European Press Prize (EPP), for 'excellence in journalism', along with the Guardian and Der Spiegel in 2014. He won the Umbria Journalism Award in March 2014 and Caravella/Mare Nostrum Prize in 2015; both in Italy. Baydar completed an extensive research on self-censorship, corruption in media, and growing threats over journalism in Turkey as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
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