Police detain 33 people in 708 million-lira fraud case

Police detain 33 people in 708 million-lira fraud case

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Police detain 33 people in 708 million-lira fraud case

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Turkish police have detained 33 people in 11 provinces in a raid against a group that was allegedly running a multibillion-lira operation to illegally produce and sell fuel.

Abdullah Altunbaş, the district chairman of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) in the southeastern province of Gaziantep’s Nizip district, is among the 33 detainees, as are the owners or a number of large paint plants.

A police investigation revealed that suspects were purchasing chemicals such as white spirit and solvents from distributors with the purported aim of producing paint under the name of nine different companies, Anatolia news agency reported. The chemicals, however, were ultimately used to illicitly produce fuel that was sold to gas stations. Police said the illegal activity was worth 708 million Turkish Liras based on company books and documents.

Following the 1.5-year-long investigation, the Nizip Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, which conducted the probe, ordered the smuggling and organized crimes unit of the Gaziantep Police Department to raid suspects’ premises in the provinces of Adana, Mardin, Istanbul, Ankara, Kocaeli, Mersin, Şırnak, Şanlıurfa, Bursa and Konya.

The number of suspects may rise in the course of the ongoing probe, according to sources familiar with the case.