Associated Press -- Fri Jun 28, 7:25 AM ET -- ISTANBUL, Turkey - Prosecutors on Friday demanded a record 4,727 years in prison for former Turkish President Suleyman Demirel's nephew, accusing him of embezzling money from his bank prior to its collapse, a local news agency reported.
Murat Demirel has been in jail since October pending trial for allegedly forming a gang to embezzle money from his collapsing Egebank. The collapse of Egebank and allegations of corruption contributed to a deep financial crisis last year.
The prosecutors' indictment accused Demirel of multiple accounts of fraud that incurred losses amounting to dlrs 1.2 billion, the Anatolia news agency reported. It is not unusual for Turkish courts to give hundreds of years in prison sentences, which amount to a life sentence.
Prosecutors also accused Murat Demirel's wife and 36 other former bank employees or associates of Demirel of involvement in the conspiracy, and demanded prison terms ranging from two years to 4,653 years for them, according to Anatolia.
Egebank went into government receivership in 2000. Demirel is accused of appropriating the bank's money through a complex network ( news - external web site) of front companies and offshore banks in northern Cyprus and the Virgin Islands, before it was bailed out by the state.
Suleyman Demirel stepped down as president in May 2000 after seven years in office.
Turkey's troubled banking system was seen as one of the main triggers of an economic crisis which saw the economy shrink by 9.4 percent last year, amid a 50 percent devaluation of the lira and massive layoffs.The International Monetary Fund ( news - web sites) is lending Turkey a total of dlrs 31 billion to back a government recovery plan, which includes measures to restructure the banking sector.
Egebank was one of 20 failed banks taken over by Turkey's bank regulator in the past five years. Earlier this month, in the latest phase of the IMF-backed plan, the regulator seized control of Pamukbank, Turkey's seventh-largest private bank.
Prosecutors demand 4,727 year prison term for ex-president's nephew