Hong Kong-based firm accused of fraud via Ponzi scheme in Turkey
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet
70 million Turkish Liras-worth web network was sold from a firm based in Hong Kong with a brand new Ponzi scheme. AFP photo
A Hong Kong-based company has sold 70 million Turkish Liras-worth web network to 35,000 people within six months in Turkey using a new generation Ponzi scheme, which has been dubbed “fraud” by jurists.
The company operating under Hong Kong firm Mega Holding sells website network packages at quadruple the product’s market price, offering customers to create a sale network to earn more money.
The firm offers two package choices called Gold and Diamond at 700 and 2,000 liras with a year validation while the consumers could easily find those systems at around 160 liras in the market.
When the buyers sell the website to other people, they earn $315 at the first stage and get shares from every sale these new customers and their customers, similar to a pyramid scheme.
Mega Group Bilişim Chairman Mesut Öpengin has declined using the pyramid scheme, claiming the company they are affiliated with is a respectable company that has businesses across the world for 15 years.
“The product of our company is a package. There is one domain, unlimited hosting, unlimited mail and unlimited traffic bandwidth,” he said.
“We don’t have any relations with pyramid schemes,” he continued, adding the products are tagged just at market price.
Website mask of fraud, jurists say
However, legalists say the product is just a cover for the chain that is financed by the flow of money earned through including new customers into the system.
Prof. Ünal Tekinalp, one of the architects of the new Turkish commercial code, called the practice “fraudulent.”
“There is no place for it in the Commerce Law, because it is kind of a swindling,” he said.
Lawyer Çağrı Çetin also said the website basis presented as the product aimed to mask the fraud.
“Using information technology systems to commit [swindling] crimes constitutes major crime,” the lawyer stated.
Turkey met with the Ponzi scheme in September 1997 with the “Titan” company. Hakan Kenan Şeranoğlu, who was previously a hairdresser in Germany, and his friend Vahit Gülal had established the scheme in Turkey’s western city of İzmir, collecting a total of 8.6 million liras from nearly 30,000 people. The founders and top executives of the system faced lengthy prison terms in 1998.