Business 20 June 2018

Dennis Wafula

Turcoin founders flee Turkey with millions in investors’ money

Turkish investors are reeling from reports that the founders of Turcoin, described as Turkey’s “national” crypto, fled the country with their money.

Turcoin was launched in 2017 by Istanbul-based company Hipper A.S., which is founded by Muhammed Saltiroglu and Sadun Kaya. According to local reports, the company managed to collect 1 billion Turkish lira (TRY) from investors, many of whom were lured into buying the “alternative” digital currency” after the company promised them huge returns.

Local media reports said the investors were promised a reward for every new person they brought on board, plus a monthly income of TRY250 (about US$52) in return for a minimum investment of TRY1,500 (about $315). The supposed great opportunity resulted in many investing huge sums of money in the project. Like other Ponzi schemes, the company made monthly payments to its investors in the beginning, but it all changed on June 1, when the payments suddenly stopped coming.

Investors sought to get answers from the main office in Istanbul but no one seemed to give them the answers they needed, according to reports. One of the investors, a 38-year-old man, reportedly bought Turcoin worth TRY560,000(about $120,000).

One of the founders, Satiroglu, told media outlets that he had nothing to do with the incident, saying that it was his partner, who holds a majority share in the company, who was responsible for running way with client’s money. Satiroglu said he had not stolen any money, promising to refund investors as soon as his accounts are unfrozen.

In an interview with Hurriyet, Satiroglu said, “I was only a mediator. Our company, Hipper, does not even have a single dollar in the bank. All the money went to Sadun Kaya’s company in Cyprus.”He also joined the investors in filing a criminal complaint against Sadun, who reportedly took a total of TRY100 billion (US$21 million).

Sadun, meanwhile, maintained he had nothing to do with the fraud, telling Sabah news outlet that people are trying to place the blame on him. Police are still searching for his whereabouts. It is still unclear as to how much money has been lost and the number of victims involved. This might be the biggest fraud incident involving cryptocurrency in the country.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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