Rumors abound within the media that casinos within the northern regions of Cyprian-territory that is under the authority of Turkey. Recent reports state that the casinos may have been involved in some form of a money laundering ring that stole a total of $5 billion, but is it true? Now that is the question. Turkish Board of Investigation on Financial Crimes or MASAK for short; was reported as having begun investigations into at least 13 casinos possibly engaged in criminal acts for unidentified parties this past Monday.
The Details of the Investigation
Currently, it has been claimed that MASAK has seized a total of $100 million, the money was expropriated after MASAK agents had completed a review of several high profile casino managers personal accounts. The statements of these casino managers purportedly showed a long list of transactions of foreign currency into and out of their accounts. Apparently, a total of 20 companies have fallen under the sights of MASAK following the opening of the investigation against the casinos.
In addition, the report that surfaced on Monday contained a sample list of several incriminatory transactions, including those which went through the Bank Asya. Now the Bank Asya was shut down in 2016, due to it being affiliated with a rather shady character, none other than cleric Fethullah Gülen who is now living out his days in exile from Turkey within the United States.
The huge storm cloud of controversy over this investigation blew up after the Turkish Minister of Finance Serdar Denktas claimed that he had been unaware of any such proceedings until seeing the article in the news. In addition, the Minister added how upon learning of the accusations he personally contacted MASAK who informed him that no such investigations are being conducted into the casinos at present. However, the original article has remained on the Turkish news website Havadis and the media outlet has made no attempts to comment on the nature of their articles’ source or verifiability.
Turkey has a good relationship with the casinos in the northern half of their Cyprus-territory, especially as casinos and other gaming venues are not allowed within Turkey itself. This cannot be said for the multiple illegal gambling operations that continue to crop up in the British Sovereign Base Areas or SBA’s within in Turkey itself. All of this while the Republic of Cyprus anxiously awaits for the very first casino to open its doors in the summer months this year, until the City of Dreams Mediterranean launches in 2021.