A well-connected Turkish businessman at present sits in a Vienna jail, awaiting his destiny in an extradition contest between the U.S. and Turkey. Each need him on expenses of laundering proceeds from a U.S. renewable-energy tax credit score fraud, and the place he winds up may have an effect on already strained relations between the U.S. and a NATO ally.
Sezgin Baran Korkmaz was arrested in Austria in June on the request of the U.S. Division of Justice, which accuses him of laundering greater than $133 million in tax fraud proceeds by means of a community of companies he controls in Turkey. Prosecutors in Turkey need him in reference to the identical alleged scheme, and have launched extradition proceedings towards him in an Austrian court docket, which ordered him to be held till Sept. 22.
Mr. Korkmaz’s prosecution in a U.S. courtroom, and the allegations of corruption among the many Turkish authorities that might spill out, would hinder Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s efforts to restore his authorities’s repute abroad, in line with opposition lawmakers in Ankara and analysts within the U.S. and Turkey.
Mr. Erdogan is already contending with a struggling financial system, slipping ballot numbers, and corruption allegations towards senior authorities officers. The Turkish authorities can be battling to restore a world picture broken by erratic financial insurance policies and a home political clampdown.
An extradition combat may additionally damage ties between the Turkish and U.S. governments, that are already strained over human rights, Turkey’s buy of a Russian air-defense system, clashing pursuits within the battle in Syria, and President Biden’s resolution in April to acknowledge the Armenian genocide.