Erdogan's son suspected of money laundering

Italian prosecutors name Bilal Erdogan as suspect in probe linked to major Turkish corruption scandal.

Ari Soffer,

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

The son of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is under investigation in Italy as part of a probe into a major political corruption scandal.

35-year-old Bilal Erdogan is suspected of money laundering, according to Bologna's public prosecutor. The investigation was apparently opened after a key political opponent of his father - Turkish businessman Murat Hakan Uzan - accused Erdogan the son of smuggling in substantial amounts of cash into Italy to be recycled.

According to Uzan, Bilal flew into the country with an armed entourage of bodyguards and a "large sum of money." Incredibly, when his guards were initially barred from entering the country they were reportedly given Turkish diplomatic passports and subsequently granted entry.

Erdogan left Turkey last August for the northern Italian city in the aftermath of a major corruption scandal in which he was among those implicated. He was alleged to have played a central role in a money laundering plot which unraveled in December 2013, in which key figures within the ruling AKP party colluded to bypass American economic sanctions on Iran

President Erdogan dismissed the case at the time as a fabricated attempt to discredit him and his inner circle - even after leaked tapes emerged several months afterwards in which he is allegedly heard telling Bilal to dispose of some 30 million euros in cash. 

Many have speculated he fled the country to escape possible charges, but he maintains he moved to Italy with his wife and children purely to pursue his PhD.