Fugitive businessman Korkmaz arrested in Austria

Sezgin Baran Korkmaz, a Turkish businessman, who has been sought for money laundering, was arrested in Austria on June 19 at the request of the United States.

The Interpol previously issued a red notice for Korkmaz, who fled from Turkey in early December 2020 amid investigations by Turkey's Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK) into Korkmaz's SBK Holding and the holding's six companies over money laundering allegations in four provinces.

Korkmaz had been sought by both Turkey and the U.S.

In the investigations carried out last year, MASAK teams determined that Korkmaz's companies were involved in the $132 million money laundering scheme in Turkey.

Following the investigations, prosecutors in Istanbul issued detention warrants against 19 company executives. Eleven of those suspects were detained but it emerged that eight others, including Korkmaz, were abroad.

Korkmaz was business partners with Jacob Kingston and his brother Isaiah, the executives of a Salt Lake City biodiesel company in the U.S.

The brothers pleaded guilty in the U.S. over the tax credit scheme involving the Washakie Renewable Energy company, which U.S. prosecutors said was creating fake production records to get renewable-fuel tax credits then laundering the proceeds from 2010 through 2016.

Mehmet Demir, the lawyer of the fugitive businessman, confirmed his arrest at the request of the U.S., and said that his trial will initially take place in Austria. Demir noted that Turkey also demands the extradition of Korkmaz.

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