Details of GEM TV Owner’s Murder in Istanbul

Speculations have increased after the owner of the Persian-language satellite channel GEM TV was shot dead in his car by unidentified people in Istanbul, Turkey, on Saturday.

The owner of GEM TV, a group of Persian-language entertainment satellite channels headquartered in Dubai, the UAE, Saeid Karimian, along with his Kuwaiti-British partner, was shot in his car in Istanbul, Turkey, on Saturday evening (April 29) by individuals whose identities are unknown. They both died in hospital due to severe injuries.

According to a Farsi report by Tabnak news website, a Jeep SUV, with the plate number of HD 9999 34, had approached Karimian’s luxurious car at about 20:15 on Saturday and forced it to a halt by blocking its path, before, two men, whose faces were covered, got out of it and shot Karimian’s automobile. Karimian and his companion died en route to the hospital due to the severity of their injuries.

Despite reports by most Turkish sources, which said that Karimian’s companion was apparently his Kuwaiti-British partner, a report by CNN Türk rejected such claims, saying that the second slain individual has been an Iranian person. Thus, doubts still exist about the real identity of the second murdered man.

Following the incident, the assassins burned their car and vanished into thin air which shows that they had plans for their operation as well as detailed knowledge of the move and measures Istanbul’s police would make in such circumstances.

Operations are underway by the Istanbul police to identify and capture the murderers. It is alleged that Karimian had set up the satellite channel using unsustainable financial aid and had, later, channelled it into his personal projects, a move which had apparently led to the loss of the monetary resources and angered his creditors.

A number of the actors and actresses who have parted from the GEM Group, the owner and manager of the GEM Television, over the past 12 months, have confirmed that the group has been faced with a financial crisis over the past year and has had difficulty paying the remainder of their salaries. Among the possibilities is that the economic conflicts brought Karimian to reckoning. In case it is proved that Karimian’s murdered companion was his partner, this scenario will be more likely.

In addition, there are rumours about Karimian’s links with the terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO), and thus the whole incident might be an intra-organizational revenge by the MKO’s agents. However, Karimian had earlier denied having any contacts with the MKO.

Nevertheless, nothing is certain about the case and the incident. Further investigation into the dimensions of the incident is required to form a more accurate judgement about it.