Turkey issues detention warrant for shady businessman Sezgin Baran Korkmaz over money laundering

Turkey has issued a detention warrant for shady businessman Sezgin Baran Korkmaz and 18 others as part of a probe into money laundering. Authorities are seeking to recover millions of dollars that Korkmaz reportedly defrauded from the U.S. government.

Sezgin Baran Korkmaz.

Duvar English 

Detention warrants were issued for a total of 19 individuals, including shady businessman Sezgin Baran Korkmaz, as part of a probe into money laundering. 

Ten people were nabbed as part of the operation carried out by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office after Turkey's Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK) and Tax Inspection Board inspected SBK Holding and six companies belonging to it. They determined that $132 million was laundered. 

All of the 19 individuals for whom warrants were issued are company directors. SBK Holding CEO Korkmaz and seven others were determined to be abroad. 

Korkmaz was in Switzerland when the warrant was issued, Duvar English has learned. 

The cash in question is reportedly part of a decade-long scheme to defraud the U.S. of at least $470 million.

In September, prosecutors in Utah submitted a list of properties belonging to Jacob and Isaiah Kingston, also known as the Mormon crime brothers and who are Korkmaz's business partners, to a U.S. court, asking for them to be retrieved, including a number of companies and real estates in Turkey.

The Kingston brothers pled guilty last year to a $470-million fraud of a government biofuel programme, which lasted nearly a decade. They transferred over $134 million in fraudulent proceeds to companies in Turkey and Luxembourg on the instructions of Armenian-Turkish businessman Lev Aslan Dermen, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Korkmaz then made various investments and bought companies between 2014 and 2018.  

Dermen was convicted of several counts of conspiracy and money laundering in March, and was allegedly the person who financed SBK Holding’s activities in Turkey with partnering the Kingston Brothers.