While off-shore account owners are on the news agenda once again due to the Panama Papers - a massive leak which exposed the off-shore holdings of the world's wealthiest, from politicians to athletes all around the world - the cost to Turkey of tax avoidance through off-shore accounts has reached TL 300 million ($105.1 million), and amounts are estimated to be as much as TL 1.5 billion.
After the leaking of nearly 11.5 million papers belonging to Panama-based Mossack Fonseca - the world's fourth biggest off-shore law and consulting firm - attention has shifted to off-shore accounts around the world. While many who have invested money in off-shore banks in Panama are being accused of tax evasion, courts in Turkey see the Turkish off-shore account owners as victims, and compensate their losses through the Saving Deposit Insurance Fund (SDIF).
Therefore when Turkish off-shore account owners lose money through international off-shore accounts they receive compensation six times their deposits.
According to data collected from SDIF sources, the amount Turkey has paid so far to those who lost money in off-shore accounts in tax havens in Cyprus has reached TL 300 million.
While a legal struggle with Saving Deposit Insurance Fund is ongoing, a high-level SDIF official said that if the Supreme Court does not change its decision, the payment provided to those who have lost money in international off-shore accounts might reach as much as TL 1.5 billion.