The $100 Million Game Turkish Officials Worry Is Pyramid Scheme

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Mehmet Aydin, make of the $100 million video game at the center of a pyramid arrangement investigation in Turkey, says he was first inspired by FarmVille.

Like the online farming pretending game that was popular earlier the present decade, his Turkish knockoff, Farm Bank, stands musicians to buy virtual swine, and induce and sell virtual harvests. The difference is his participants must invest real cash- so much better of it that Aydin claims he’s going to open Europe’s biggest dairy farm with the proceeds.

Mehmet Aydin

Photographer: Salih Unal/ Ciftlik Bank

” I assured all these Ponzi planneds online and I conceived’ these fraudsters are stupid ,’ ” Aydin, 26, said on the 550 -acre plot of farmland he bought in November in the primary hamlet of Pazarkaya, about halfway between Istanbul and Aleppo, Syria.” They should be forming real speculations with the money they obtain from beings instead of tricking them .”

What Aydin insists is an inventive room to allow regular people to earn money and facilitate resuscitate an ailing manufacture has raised surmises among authorities concerned the wildly favourite sport is a scam that will eventually collapse and leave many Turks empty passed. Ciftlik Bank stopped countenancing new members on Tuesday pending the performance of the authority investigations.

Turkey’s practices and craft ministry on Friday restricted ads from Farm Bank, or Ciftlik Bank as it’s known in Turkish, for three months to escape misinforming customers that may think it’s a real lender.

35, 000 Cows

Trying to allay anxieties, Aydin had invited his fellow citizens sometime last-place month to the Anatolian site outside where he says he’s going to build a $185 -million dairy facility. It’s meant to house 35,000 head of cattle, owned by Ciftlik Bank investors.

Braving a frigid flood, the thousands of Turks traveled from across the country for reassurance that they weren’t being duped.

” I had rely publications at first, but they gained my trust after I recognized that the investments are really happening ,” said Hasan Celebi, 23, who traveled about 1,100 kilometers( 680 miles) from the east state of Erzurum.” You put in 1 lira and you get back 2.25 liras in a year with Ciftlik Bank. I will get a bank loan to invest more.”

Aydin, who learned how to curriculum video games by watching YouTube lessons, couldn’t have grasped how quickly Ciftlik Bank would gain momentum after launching it in August 2016. Players start by opening free online histories. Then they buy virtual animals — sheep, cows, bees, chickens — and acquisition meat to feed them until production of milk, sugar or eggs knocks off. They sell harvests for profits that can be cashed in for liras or reinvested to expand their virtual farms.

Investors have dedicated more than 400 million liras ($ 106 million) up to now and Aydin says there are 350,000 domestic and 150,000 foreign players of the Ciftlik Bank, whose mother- Reputation Game — is based in Northern Cyprus to eschew tax.

Criminal Investigation

Advertisements on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube carried a theme song that obligates you’ll” doubled your investment in one year .” According to the Ciftlik Bank website, in cases where there insolvency the company guarantees principal fees and those who give 5,000 liras or more get a written contract.

Promises like this have raised red flag among Turkish arbiters. Along with the market ministry, which started its examination last month, the Capital Markets Board registered its complaint against Ciftlik Bank, saying it carries features of a pyramid programme. The Ministry of Industry lodged a separate ailment alleging Ciftlik Bank of falsely advertising that Aydin would receive an bestow from Minister Faruk Ozlu in Malaysia.

” It’s impossible for it to pay the high-pitched returns it promises ,” the Capital Markets Board said in a Dec. 28 statement.

Pyramid and ponzi intrigues are get-rich-quick swindles which is usually furnish returns to investors from fund paid off by precede participants. There isn’t an actual asset approval it up and eventually the system falls apart, leaving later investors with nothing.

” No area is this fruitful ,” said Oguz Yavuz, an Istanbul-based advocate were engaged in information technology and trade.” For Ciftlik Bank to keep running, more representatives need to keep enrolling the system. This implies that Ciftlik Bank is a Ponzi impostor that can only exist by compensating the old-time representatives’ coin with new members’ money.”

Farm Bank admits musicians to buy virtual swine, and display and sell virtual crops.

Source: Ciftlik Bank

Aydin contends his intention isn’t to trick anyone. He’s always wanted to invest in agriculture and video games provides him with the cash to do so. He devoted 15 million liras on the plot of farmland and aims to start growing milk by the second half of 2018. The corporation is even ratifying dealership arrangements with vendors across Turkey.

” I want the government to investigate me and my firm. I want it to be over as soon as possible ,” Aydin said.

While he deters people from selling their houses or automobiles to participate, some are doing just that. Hamza Aslan, a 58 -year-old former automobile salesman, exchanged his gondolas to grow 250,000 liras to invest. He foresees the project will help ease inflation by generating down nutrient prices.

But Tevfik Keskin, who heads Turkey’s Milk Producers Association, said the past three years ought to have “terrible” for dairy producers as wholesale milk costs hurtled.” Lots of dairies are shutting down ,” he said.

Gross profit margins for publicly traded Turkish milk business range from 15 to 20 percentage — a far cry from what Ciftlik predicts, added Erdem Hafizoglu, an commentator at brokerage BGC Marriage in Istanbul.

Selling Possessions

At the ground-breaking rite for “the farmers “, there weren’t countless cynics. The district mayor attended and the emcee likened Aydin to one of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son-in-laws, Selcuk Bayraktar, the 38 -year-old heir to a protection industry house, for both being successful at a young age.

Ciftlik Bank has gained traction in part by capitalizing on the rise of nationalist and religion sentimentalities at a time when Turkey’s subdivisions with NATO collaborators are increasing. Numerous musicians determine Ciftlik as providing a patriotic purpose of helping naturalnes Turkey’s reliance on imports. Plea to these insights, the phenomenon began with a see from the Koran and conclude with Ottoman military band performances.

” I plan to invest around 20,000 liras at first and, if it all goes well, I might even exchange my auto to invest more ,” said Seyhmus Onum, 30, who traveled over 1,000 kilometers from Mardin to be there.

Aydin, who says “the farmers ” is officially financed with members’ currency, have so far been branched into new ways of making money. In a Facebook post this month, he said he’s taken up quarrying- of Bitcoin.

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