Shady Turkish businessman appears in US court, worries Turkish co-conspirators

Shady Turkish businessman appears in US court, worries Turkish co-conspirators
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Sezgin Baran Korkmaz, who faces money laundering and wire fraud charges in the US denied accusations in his first appearance in court

Sezgin Baran Korkmaz appeared before a judge in Salt Lake City, US, upon arrival from Austria which extradited him on Friday, VOA Turkish reported.

Korkmaz, charged with money laundering and wire fraud, denied accusations. The case will continue on 21 September. 

Sezgin Baran Korkmaz last year fled Turkey but was arrested in a holiday resort in Austria. An Austrian court accepted extradition requests from both the US and Turkey but gave the priority to the US.

Korkmaz was indicted in the US with laundering more than $133 million in illegal proceeds through bank accounts he controlled in Turkey and Luxembourg, a statement from the Justice Department said

Korkmaz and co-conspirators allegedly used the proceeds from the scheme to buy the Turkish airline Borajet, hotels in Turkey and Switzerland, a yacht named the "Queen Anne" and a villa and an apartment on the Bosphorus in Istanbul, the statement said.

The trial in the US worries his complices and his connections in the Turkish bureaucracy, Sozcu newspaper reported on Tuesday. 

“One thing we found about Korkmaz is that he keeps audio and video recordings of the people he bribes” Sozcu quoted an anonymous police commander investigating his case.

Sedat Peker, a mob boss-turned-whistleblower last year claimed that Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu Kormaz warned Korkmaz about the charges in Turkey and told him to run away. Korkmaz fled Turkey the next day, Peker said.