Erdogan's son under investigation in Italy for money laundering

Bilal Erdogan, the second son of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is under investigation in Italy for money laundering, legal sources told dpa on Wednesday, backing earlier press reports.

Bilal, 34, moved with his family to the central Italian town of Bologna in September, saying he wanted to complete PhD studies at the local Johns Hopkins University.

The Bologna prosecutors' office is investigating claims by a Turkish businessman hostile to Erdogan that his son arrived with large amounts of allegedly ill-gotten cash, the ANSA news agency originally reported Tuesday.

It was not possible to obtain confirmation from prosecutors, but a lawyer for the businessman, Murat Hakan Huzan, told dpa that he had filed a petition against Bilal, and another legal source in Bologna said an investigation had been opened on that basis.

However, the source stressed that the probe was at a very early stage, and may not lead to any indictment.

Erdogan has been in power since 2003, first as prime minister, then president. Originally hailed as a pro-Western reformer, he has lately been accused of corruption and authoritarianism, while remaining hugely popular.

In a December interview with Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper, Bilal rejected charges by Russia that his family was helping Islamic State smuggle oil out of Syria, thus giving support to the terrorist group.

Last update: Wed, 17/02/2016 - 13:28

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