FB chairman leaves courtroom during match-rigging case hearing

FB chairman leaves courtroom during match-rigging case hearing

Fenerbahçe Chairman Aziz Yıldırım, who has been behind bars as a suspect in the match-fixing trial since July 3, 2011, is seen outside the courtroom after walking out during a hearing. (Photo: Today's Zaman)

April 30, 2012, Monday/ 17:43:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Fenerbahçe Chairman Aziz Yıldırım, who is under arrest as part of a match-fixing trial, left the courtroom during the 13th hearing of the trial, held at the İstanbul 16th High Criminal Court on Monday.

Ten suspects who have been jailed pending trial in the historic match-fixing case attended the hearing, which was conducted at the İstanbul Courthouse in Çağlayan. Among the suspects were former Giresunspor Chairman Olgun Peker, Fenerbahçe Chairman Yıldırım, Sivasspor Chairman Mecnun Odyakmaz, Fenerbahçe Manager İlhan Ekşioğlu and Fenerbahçe Financial Affairs Manager Tamer Yelkovan. Twenty suspects pending trial also attended the hearing. The hearing started with the testimony of former Turkish Football Federation (TFF) President Mahmut Özgener as a witness. After being asked about whether he knew anything about the fraud and match-fixing claims, Özgener responded he did not know anything about these allegations.

Yıldırım asked for permission to ask Özgener a question. After the court chairman gave permission, Yıldırım asked Özgener whether any Fenerbahçe manager requested him to fix a referee or change a referee for any match. Özgener responded, “Absolutely not.” After Özgener’s response, Yıldırım left the courtroom to protest the charges of match-fixing lodged against him.

The Fenerbahçe chairman faces six serious charges of fraud, four for match-fixing and three for incentive payment (bribing the opposing team). Yıldırım is also accused by prosecutors of establishing and running a criminal organization to generate illegal profits. Prosecutor Mehmet Berk, who is spearheading the investigation, has asked the court to sentence Yıldırım to 59 to 132 years in prison for the felonies.

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