After almost a week of silence, the Turkish authorities have released information on the fate of 39 people – 2 of them Sportingbet employees from the UK – arrested last week in a police swoop on the local Sportingbet subsidiary Superbahis.com and associated companies.
The Cyprus Observer reported over the weekend that 11 of those arrested in a police operation that had Superbahis under observation for some time had been released, and 28 others – presumably including the two UK employees – committed to trial on charges that they had set up a gambling website.
Turkish authorities alleged that the investigation had established that there were substantial revenues generated from ‘illegal' online gambling and that these transactions were facilitated by transfers between banks in Britain, Ireland, Switzerland and northern Cyprus.
In a series of coordinated raids in various locations, 39 people were originally taken into custody in several Turkish cities. 70 computers, 7 hard disks, 1 155 CDs/DVDs, 33 memory cards, 134 bank credit card and deposit books with documents together with 1 191.40 grams of gold, 368 800 Turkish Lira, US$10 371 and Euros 4 550 were all confiscated as evidence.
The banking accounts of 16 people have been investigated by the Turkish Board for Financial Crimes Investigation (MASAK) and were allegedly confirmed as having received money illegally, resulting in a freezing injunction.
The Observer reported that one Baris Kum, who committed suicide two years ago after gambling away family monies, had been using the website. His family has apparently launched a civil suit against the Turkish management.