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More arrests over assassination of businessman in north

Halil Falyali
File photo: Halil Falyali

The funeral of a well-known Turkish Cypriot businessman was set to take place on Thursday as three more arrests were made in Istanbul in relation to his murder earlier in the week.

Halil Falyali was gunned down on Tuesday evening while being driven home, and later succumbed to his injuries in hospital. His chauffeur Murat Demirtas was also killed in the attack.

Turkish media reported that the three new arrests took place in Istanbul, where the suspects are believed to have fled following the attack, despite strict monitoring at ports and airports in the north.

They are reportedly being interrogated by the Istanbul police organised crime unit.

Meanwhile Turkish Cypriot media wrote that authorities in the north have also detained two more people who were also attempting to fly out of Cyprus, one of whom was reportedly related to someone very close to Falyali.

Another arrest was made on Wednesday and the suspect, who was reportedly driving the car used in the attack, was remanded for two days.

Falyali was being driven home by a chauffeur when men with automatic guns attacked the car he was in. The businessman was shot 18 times in the head and body. He died in hospital despite efforts to save him.

The driver was also killed in the attack, and police found 48 shells at the scene of the crime.

Falyali’s family, who were following him in a second car, were not harmed in the attack.

This has given way to speculation, with Yeni Duzen alleging that the attack was related to a ‘settling of debts’, and Halkin Sesi saying this was “the work of professionals”.

Havadis said the attackers must have had inside information as the other three cars in the convoy heading to Falyali’s house were not harmed.

The businessman was namechecked by Turkish gang leader Sedat Peker back in May, in one of the videos he posted with revelations about many political figures in Turkey and their alleged shady activities.

Peker in his video had also claimed that Falyali, who owned a casino hotel in Kyrenia, was involved in drug trafficking and money laundering in the north through his businesses in cooperation with Erkan Yildirim, son of former Turkish prime minister between 2016 and 2018, Binali Yıldırım.

Falyali had denied the claims and said he was not involved in any drugs cases and had never met in person with any of these individuals.

Turkish media had also written that over the past few decades, the businessman had amassed powerful connections related to illegal gambling in the north, and had unsuccessfully made a bid to buy Fulham FC in 2004.

 

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