Turkish imam starts Ponzi scheme, gets suspended
Meltem Özgenç ISTANBUL
The imam allegedly collected millions by promising to distribute a 'share of the profit' in the future, according to the members of the congregation.The imam of an Ankara mosque has been suspended after he allegedly started a Ponzi scheme, through which he stole around 7 million Turkish Liras (2.4 million euros).
The imam allegedly collected millions by promising to distribute a “share of the profit” in the future, according to the members of the congregation. When he didn’t fulfil his promise, those who had paid into the scheme filed a complaint against him.
Mehmet Görmez, the chairman of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet), ordered for the imam to be suspended on June 30.
“If the claims are verified by our investigators’ administrative probe, a formal investigation will be launched and the judicial authorities will be informed,” a Diyanet official told daily Hürriyet.
A notorious Ponzi scheme was established in Turkey in September 1997 in the western city of İzmir, through the “Titan” company established by two men, who collected a total of 8.6 million liras (3 million euros) from nearly 30,000 people in total. The founders and top executives of the system were handed lengthy prison terms in 1998.
Earlier this year, a Hong Kong-based company was accused of selling web networks worth 70 million liras (24 million euros) to 35,000 people in six months in Turkey using a new generation Ponzi scheme, which has been labeled “fraudulent” by jurists.