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Embezzlement investigation suffers setback

A Swiss investigation into the business dealings of a Turkish businessman has suffered a setback following Turkish elections.

Fadil Akgündüz, who is suspected of embezzling millions of francs from small investors, was elected to the Turkish parliament on November 3.

Since then, an investigation into Akgündüz has been hampered by the fact that his election to parliament means he is now immune from prosecution.

Akgündüz stands accused of defrauding thousands of investors by selling stakes in a Swiss-based company which falsely claimed to be manufacturing the first home-grown Turkish car.

Prior to the Turkish elections, the Swiss justice ministry last month confirmed it was investigating the whereabouts of Akgündüz, adding that he was wanted for a variety of fraudulent activities in "several European countries".

Akgündüz ran in the November elections as an independent candidate in the south-eastern Turkish town of Siirt, while Interpol - in conjunction with Swiss and other European authorities - was searching for him on money laundering and fraud charges.

After his election victory, Akgündüz's lawyer, Veysi Yasar, insisted his client had not run for office in a bid to gain immunity from prosecution.

"When in parliament, Akgündüz himself will propose lifting parliamentary immunity. He is not afraid of anything," Yasar said.


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