Turkey extradites corruption fugitive Mutee to Jordan

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AMMAN: A Jordanian businessman wanted in connection with tax evasion and customs violations amounting to 155 million Jordanian dinars ($218.6 million) has been extradited from Turkey, a diplomatic source confirmed to Arab News on Tuesday.

Authorities allege that Awni Mutee was operating factories that illegally manufactured cigarettes, selling them in Jordan and smuggling them overseas.

Jordanian media, citing an Interpol Red Notice, reported that Mutee was wanted on six charges including carrying out acts that endanger public safety and security and carrying out acts that would change the country’s economic entity or endangers society’s basic conditions.

“We are happy to help a brotherly country in its fight against corruption and we are especially concerned about the effects of criminals who are behind the sale of drugs… to young people,” Turkey’s Ambassador to Jordan Marat Karajuz told Arab News. “This is a problem both in Jordan and Turkey and we are happy to help.”

His extradition is a win for the Jordanian leadership, as people have been protesting about taxes, unemployment, price rises and austerity measures. October demonstrations prompted King Abdullah to pledge a war on corruption. Jordanian lawmaker Nabil Gheshan said he had thanked the king.

“I told his majesty that bringing Awni Mutee will help produce a major breakthrough for many young Jordanians who are complaining about the current situation, and the king replied that now the job is for government institutions to do their work.”

Prime Minister Omar Razzaz had earlier told Parliament that “no unresolved corruption case will be closed under his administration,” according to Gheshan.

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