Nine suspects released in Farm Bank scam case

A Turkish court on Friday has released nine suspects in the Farm Bank trial, a case of suspected large-scale fraud committed through an app inspired by the popular game FarmVille, Gazete Duvar reported on Friday.

Farm Bank’s owner and mastermind, Mehmet Aydın, convinced thousands in Turkey that they could legitimately earn huge returns by investing in the Farm Bank app, eventually attracting a reported $120 million from over 80,000 users.

The app’s users built a virtual farm while investing real money that Aydın said was being used to buy livestock in farms across Turkey.

When the app was launched in 2016, Aydın said users could earn a profit of around $13,000 per month with an investment of $50,000. But by 2018, Turkish authorities were describing Farm Bank as a “cyber Ponzi scheme”, and Aydın had fled to Uruguay with an estimated $20 million of investors’ money.

The court ruled to extend the arrest warrant for Aydın, who has reportedly set up a construction firm in the Latin American country.

It ruled to released nine of the 11 suspects in detention, including a founder of Farm Bank, its financial manager and one thought to have helped plan the concept.

Two software developers will remain in jail, Gazete Duvar reported.
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