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 motivated by FarmVille.

Like the online farming pretending play that was popular earlier the present decade, his Turkish knockoff, Farm Bank, stands participates to buy virtual animals, and produce and exchange virtual pastures. The change 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 determined all these Ponzi planneds online and I considered’ these fraudsters are foolish ,’ ” Aydin, 26, said on the 550 -acre plot of farmland he bought in November in the central hamlet of Pazarkaya, about halfway between Istanbul and Aleppo, Syria.” They should be inducing real financings with the money they collect from beings instead of tricking them .”

What Aydin claims is an innovative road to allow regular people to earn money and cure resuscitate an ailing manufacture has raised surmises among authorities concerned the wildly popular competition is a scam that will eventually fold and leave numerous Turks empty entrust. Ciftlik Bank stopped abiding new members on Tuesday pending the results of government investigations.

Turkey’s patronages and commerce ministry on Friday censored ads from Farm Bank, or Ciftlik Bank as it’s known in Turkish, for three months to evade misinforming consumers that may think it’s a real lender.

35, 000 Cows

Trying to dispel tensions, 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 rainfall, hundreds of Turks traveled from across the country for reassurance that they weren’t being duped.

” I had cartel questions at first, but they gained my cartel after I appreciated that the investments are really happening ,” said Hasan Celebi, 23, who traveled about 1,100 kilometers( 680 miles) from the east province 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 program video games by watching YouTube seminars, couldn’t have fathomed how quickly Ciftlik Bank would gain impetu after launching it in August 2016. Players start by opening free online details. Then they buy virtual swine — sheep, cows, bees, chickens — and buy menu to feed them until production processes milk, honey or eggs kicks 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) in so far and Aydin says there are 350,000 domestic and 150,000 foreign participates of the Ciftlik Bank, whose mother- Renown Game — is based in Northern Cyprus to evade tax.

Criminal Investigation

Advertisements on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube carried a theme song that pledges you’ll” doubled your investment in one year .” According to the Ciftlik Bank website, in the event of insolvency the company guarantees principal remittances and the individuals who devote 5,000 liras or more get a written contract.

Promises like this have raised red flags among Turkish approvals. Along with the craft department, which started its examination last-place month, the Capital Markets Board registered its complaint against Ciftlik Bank, saying it carries features of a pyramid intrigue. The Ministry of Industry lodged a separate objection alleging Ciftlik Bank of falsely advertising that Aydin would receive an give from Minister Faruk Ozlu in Malaysia.

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

Pyramid and ponzi programmes are get-rich-quick victimizes that typically volunteer returns to investors from fund paid off by subsequent members. There isn’t an actual asset backing it up and eventually the system falls apart, leaving afterward investors with nothing.

” No sphere is this profitable ,” said Oguz Yavuz, an Istanbul-based advocate were engaged in information technology and sell.” For Ciftlik Bank to keep running, more members need to keep penetrating the system. This implies that Ciftlik Bank is a Ponzi forgery that can only exist by the aged members’ money with new members’ money.”

Farm Bank accepts musicians to buy virtual swine, and grow and exchange virtual crops.

Source: Ciftlik Bank

Aydin holds his intention isn’t to trick anyone. He’s always wanted to invest in agriculture and video games offer him with the currency to do so. He wasted 15 million liras on the story of agricultural lands and aims to start displaying milk by the second half of 2018. The fellowship is even signing dealership agreements with marketers across Turkey.

” I miss the government to investigate me and my company. I want it to be over as soon as is practicable ,” Aydin said.

While he discourages beings from selling their houses or automobiles to participate, some are doing just that. Hamza Aslan, a 58 -year-old onetime car salesman, sold his autoes to collect 250,000 liras to invest. He prophesies the project will help ease inflation by generating down food prices.

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

Gross profit margins for publicly traded Turkish milk fellowships stray from 15 to 20 percent — a far cry from what Ciftlik promises, added Erdem Hafizoglu, an consultant at brokerage BGC Partners in Istanbul.

Selling Possessions

At the ground-breaking ceremony for “the farmers “, there weren’t numerous 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 defense industry house, for both being successful at a young age.

Ciftlik Bank has gained friction in part by capitalizing on the rise of nationalist and religion sentimentalities at a time when Turkey’s segments with NATO friends are increasing. Many musicians verify Ciftlik as dishing a patriotic purpose of helping naturalnes Turkey’s reliance on importations. Petitioning to these insights, the affair began with a decipher from the Koran and conclude with Ottoman military strap performances.

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

Aydin, who says the farm is officially financed with members’ money, have so far been division into further ways of making money. In a Facebook post this month, he said he’s taken up mining- of Bitcoin.