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Erdogan says opposition leader will ‘pay the price’ for tax haven claims

Ankara (AFP) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed Thursday that the country’s main opposition leader would “pay the price” for claims that his family sent millions of dollars offshore.

“He will pay the price for this attack,” Erdogan told lawmakers from his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) during a meeting, the Hurriyet newspaper reported.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, head of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), has claimed that members of the president’s family transferred around $15 million (12.5 million euros) to Bellway Limited, based in the low-tax British Crown Dependency of the Isle of Man.

Kilicdaroglu waved documents during a speech on Tuesday that he said proved alleged transfers made by five individuals including Erdogan’s son, Ahmet Burak Erdogan, between 2011 and 2012 to the company.

It was not possible to immediately verify the CHP leader’s accusations.

The Ankara public prosecutor’s office on Thursday said it has begun an investigation into Kilicdaroglu’s allegations and has requested the documents from the CHP, the private Dogan news agency reported.

Erdogan previously rejected the claims as “lies” and said that he and five other individuals would file legal complaints against Kilicdaroglu.

He has urged the CHP chief to “share the documents” with the people and prosecutors.

Kilicdaroglu earlier on Thursday said he was given the paperwork by “bureaucrats who love their country”.

Stepping up his attack on the party, Erdogan said this week the CHP was no longer the main opposition party, but “the party of treason”.

Last week Erdogan took legal action against the CHP chief after he demanded to know whether the president was aware that his family was sending money to tax havens.

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