Azeri-Turkish shipping magnate arrested over Gülen links: report

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A commercial ship owned by the Palmali group.

Azeri-Turkish businessman Mubariz Mansimov Gurbanoğlu has been arrested in one of the highest-profile detentions of a crackdown against suspects linked to a network accused of carrying out an attempted coup in 2016, Istanbul police said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

Gurbanoğlu is the founder and chairman of the İstanbul-based Palmali group, which operates a fleet of oil tankers. He has partnered in business with Turkish president’s close relatives, including his son Bilal Erdoğan, according to the Turkish media.

After he was detained at the weekend, a court ordered his formal arrest over ties to the network of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan blames for the failed putsch in which about 250 people died, police and the state-owned Anadolu news agency said.

Gurbanoğlu’s home and company premises were searched.

The İstanbul court ordered that he be kept in custody on charges of membership in a terrorist group, Anadolu said.

He was listed by Forbes as worth $1.3 billion in 2015, with interests in dairy products, media, resorts and planes as well as operating a fleet of oil tankers. Born in the Azeri capital of Baku, he became a Turkish citizen in 2006, taking the name Gurbanoğlu.

Gülen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, has denied any involvement in the attempted coup.

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