The Turkish authorities reportedly detected an illicit betting organization that used cryptocurrencies to launder crime funds.
Following the investigation, law enforcement agents arrested 46 individuals involved in the scheme and confiscated $40 million worth of digital assets.
‘This Is Just the Beginning’
According to a local coverage, the Turkish police have detained the suspects across various regions in the country, including the capital Ankara, Kayseri, Van, Yozgat, and other locations.
The Office of the Chief Public Prosecutor claimed that those people were part of an Ankara-based criminal gang that violated Law No. 7258 (the legislation that regulates fair betting on sports games).
Per the accusations, the organization ran an illegal sports betting scheme and sent its yields to numerous cryptocurrency accounts. Some addresses belonged to Halil Falyali – a Turkish Cypriot businessman who was supposedly the head of a separate mafia group. Earlier this year, he was murdered at his home in Kyrenia, Cyprus.
The prosecutors maintained that the gang processed nearly $135 million worth of digital currencies. Turkey’s Minister of Interior Süleyman Soylu said the authorities have confiscated around a third of that amount, assuring “this is just the beginning:”
“This operation came out of Turkish Cyprus and is linked to the murder of Halil Falyali. A transfer of approximately TL 2.5 billion of money occurred. Approximately $40 million of money has been confiscated at the moment.”
The Ministry has also sent the files related to the investigation to the authorities of many European nations, hoping this could aid their efforts to eliminate such crime on the Old Continent.
The Largest Crypto Scam in Turkey
The transcontinental nation has been a hotbed for numerous crypto-related frauds in the past few years. Arguably the most famous one is the case of the notorious trading venue Thodex.
The platform’s website went down in 2021, while CEO Faruk Fatih Ozer left the country with up to $2 billion of users’ funds.
The 28-year-old was on the loose for over a year until the Albanian authorities arrested him in the city of Elbasan. His punishment could be among the toughest in Turkey’s recent history. Several reports hinted that prosecutors insist the fugitive should go to prison for the absurd 40,000 years.