Once thought to be Turkey’s National cryptocurrency turned out to be a Ponzi scheme after the founder of Turcoin has disappeared with around $211million of investors money, according to Hurriyet Daily News report.
Earlier this year a Turkish company Hipper co-founded by Muhammed Satiroğlu and Sadun Kaya has launched Turcoin. Official publications promised a guaranteed, high income based on the “buy-in” level of the investors. Like all other Ponzi schemes every new investor would benefit more than the previous one.
During the promotion of the Turcoin gathered over $500 million. 22 company managers were awarded with luxury cars which also turned out to be a publicity stunt, according to the report of the local news outlet Sabah.
In one of his other statements, Sadun Kaya claimed that he owns around 8000 bitcoins and believes that by the end of 2018 bitcoin price will reach $300,000.
Ministry of Customs and Trade initiated an investigation against the company and at the beginning of June Hipper stopped paying its premiums. Investors couldn’t reach founders over the phone and at the “mining facility” in Eskişehir, no representatives could be found.
Posts of scammed investors and fraud victims of Turcoin are visible on a Turkish consumer rights website, which gathers and publishes complaints from all categories. Victims claim that for the last two months they couldn’t get their premiums.
Sadun Kaya, an owner of a 51% stake in Hipper, claims that until the government stepped in, “everything was working out fine”. Officials are considering the possibility that Sadun Kaya has now fled the country and froze his assets. Co-founder of the company Muhammet Satiroğlu is claiming that he is also the victim of Sadun Kaya, however, his whereabouts are also not known.
“I have not fled with the money. I will return all the money to the members if authorities unblock my bank accounts...Actually they (government) are the ones who are involved in serious corruption,” Satıroğlu said to Hürriyet.
Currently, there are no laws or regulations related to cryptocurrencies in Turkey. However, officials have declared that "Bitcoin is not a money" and thus financial bodies are not to execute any cryptocurrencies related operations.
Some in Turkey are also pushing for a national cryptocurrency. Earlier this February, Turkey’s Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the de facto partner of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) proposed the launch of a national cryptocurrency. Although ministers in Turkey earlier linked cryptocurrencies to Ponzi scheme and warned citizens to stay away, the MHP argues that instead of dismissing cryptocurrencies, Ankara should draw up legislation to regulate and control the market.
“The world is advancing toward a new digital system. Turkey should create its own digital system and currency before it’s too late.” Former Industry Minister Ahmet Kenan Tanrıkulu said.
By Nadya Astam