Police start to question founder of Çiftlik Bank
Istanbul police on July 5 started to question the fugitive creator of an alleged online Ponzi scheme game who was brought back to Turkey over the weekend.
Interviews with Mehmet Aydın were done by a special Istanbul police team equipped with 60 pages of prepared questions.
Aydın, who surrendered to the Turkish Consulate in Sao Paulo, was arrested at the Istanbul Airport on July 3 in an ongoing investigation by Istanbul prosecutors after a Turkish Airlines plane arrived at 10.10 p.m.
Aydın, nicknamed “Tosuncuk,” who was also sought with a red notice by Interpol upon Turkey’s request, is accused of several crimes, including "establishing a criminal organization" and "fraud" and faces up to 75,260 years in prison.
Following four days of questioning, he will be brought before the Istanbul Anatolian Court.
Aydın faces charges in courts in Istanbul and Bursa on committing fraud by using information systems, banks, or credit institutions.
Aydın, who was 26 years old at the time, created an online scheme in 2016 inspired by a social media game, FarmVille, and collected over 1.1 billion Turkish Liras (around $131 million) from more than 132,000 people and fled the country in 2018.
The game’s victims were lured into investing their money in virtual animals and crops, as Aydın promised high rates of return by directing the money raised into an actual agricultural investment.
According to a report by the Capital Markets Board (SPK), Çiftlik Bank made payments to some 63,000 people amounting to 511 million liras, whereas the remaining amount was transferred to the bank accounts Aydın and his wife held in Northern Cyprus.
When he fled the country in 2018, Turkey issued a red notice for Aydın, who was also added to Interpol’s most-wanted list in 2019.
Turkey’s Justice Ministry contacted every country where Aydın was allegedly seen, within the framework of judicial cooperation, including Uruguay, Brazil, Panama, Honduras, Canada, and Ukraine.