Turkey Orders Arrest of 417 in Money Laundering Probe

The probe centers on the transfer of about $419 million in foreign currency to bank accounts abroad

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan holds a joint press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Ankara, Turkey, August 14, 2018.
Burhan Ozbilici,AP

Turkish prosecutors ordered the detention of 417 suspects in a money laundering investigation into the transfer of about 2.5 billion lira ($419 million) worth of foreign currency to bank accounts abroad, broadcaster CNN Turk said on Tuesday.

The vast majority of the recipients of the funds were Iranian citizens resident in the United States, it added, citing a statement from Istanbul’s chief prosecutor.

Istanbul police teams were launching raids across a series of provinces, searching properties and detaining many people, the broadcaster said.

Police, the prosecutor and other judicial authorities were not immediately available to comment on the report, which was carried by other Turkish media.

The investigation was aimed at those who “targeted the economic and financial security of the Turkish Republic,” the Istanbul chief prosecutor’s office said, according to CNN Turk.

The suspects were accused of money laundering, “forming a gang with the aim of committing crime,” and “breaking a law aimed at preventing the financing of terrorism,” the statement said. The operation was launched by financial crimes police, it added.

It said the suspects were accused of receiving commission for sending the money to 28,088 accounts abroad.

The transfers were made from various bank branches and ATMs starting from January 1, 2017 with sums of 5,000 lira and more, the statement said.