ANKARA: A fugitive Turkish businessman who wants to return home to avoid US prosecution is due to appear in an Austrian court on Monday carrying secrets with potential geopolitical ramifications.

The list of scandals implicating businessman Sezgin Baran Korkmaz is long, stretching back to the early months of former US president Donald Trump’s administration.

It also involves a cast of colourful cohorts, including two polygamist sectarians in Utah, Jacob and Isaiah Kingston, and a California-based fuel company owner named in US documents as Levon Termendzhyan.

US prosecutors allege that Korkmaz laundered more than $133 million in fraud proceeds through bank accounts that he controlled in Turkey and Luxembourg.

They accuse him and accomplices of using the money to buy the Turkish airline Borajet, hotels in Turkey and Switzerland, a yacht called the Queen Anne, and a villa and apartment overlooking the Bosphorus in Istanbul.

The superceding indictment, unsealed last month, charged Korkmaz with one count of conspiring to commit money laundering, 10 counts of wire fraud and one count of obstruction of an official proceeding.

Published in Dawn, July 5th, 2021

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