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Erdoğan says top bank executives probed in fraud scheme targeting Turkish football stars

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said top executives of a Turkish bank were being investigated in connection with a fraudulent multi-million dollar investment scheme that ensnared some of the country’s most prominent football stars, Turkish media reported.

A branch manager of Denizbank — a local unit of Emirates NBD Bank PJSC — is alleged to have run a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme in which she lured players with promises of high returns. The case involved cash transactions and unsustainable repayments.

Denizbank previously said it had no knowledge of these transactions until a customer complaint in April.

Speaking in an interview with a group of journalists on his way back from the United Arab Emirates, Erdoğan did not comment on the nature of the investigation or name any names.

The İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in April, following a complaint from the victims, launched an investigation into the allegations that Seçil Erzan, the former branch manager at Denizbank Levent, collected around $43 million US dollars and 15 million Turkish lira from 29 people.

Erzan was handed bags of cash, but as the investments rapidly grew, the repayments became unsustainable, leading to the failure of the scheme.

After the investigation led to an indictment in November, Erzan and six other suspects were charged with “qualified fraud” and “forgery.”

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