Murdered north casino boss’ $30 mln in crypto seized

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Around $30 million in crypto on the Malta cryptocurrency exchange that belonged to a murdered Turkish Cypriot casino boss has been seized upon demand from the Turkish authorities as part of an investigation into an illegal gambling ring.

Turkey’s Anadolu news agency said the investigation into the gambling ring is being conducted by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Turkish authorities issued detention warrants on October 20 for 46 suspects.

In addition, they blocked the cryptocurrency accounts of 229 others, as well as 11 companies that were involved in the transfer of money obtained from illegal gambling and sent it to cryptocurrency accounts owned by an Ankara-based criminal organization.

The authorities discovered that some of the money collected from illegal gambling in Turkey was sent to the cryptocurrency accounts of slain north casino boss Halil Falyalı and his wife in the Malta cryptocurrency exchange.

Falyalı, who owned several casinos and hotels in the breakaway north of Cyprus, died in an assassination on February 8 in front of his house in Kyrenia.

As part of the same operation, $40 million in cryptocurrency was also confiscated in Turkey and abroad last month.

Falyalı came to public attention in Turkey in May 2021, when notorious Turkish mob boss Sedat Peker alleged while exposing the Turkish government’s involvement in international cocaine trafficking that the drug was being shipped to Turkey from Venezuela and then to the Middle East on luxury yachts, while the profits were laundered in the north by Falyalı.

Falyalı, alleged to have had shady relations with Turkish government figures, owned several casinos and hotels in the north, including Les Ambassadeurs Hotel & Casino.

A well-known figure in the Turkish Cypriot business community was being driven home when men with long-barreled weapons attacked the car.

Falyalı succumbed to his wounds in the hospital.

Main suspect Mustafa Söylemez, his brother, Mehmet Faysal Söylemez, and three others were arrested as part of the investigation launched in Turkey.

Söylemez was linked to a series of murders, shootings and other mafia-related crimes committed in the 1990s, with mostly unknown perpetrators. (source Turkish media)