The Turkish government detained 40 out of 44 suspects in the ongoing Twitch Bit scam investigation on Tuesday in a coordinated operation across 11 cities, according to Sozcu. Out of these 40 people, 31 are Twitch streamers, and six are minors.
Not all names have been released to the public yet, but ex-League of Legends pro player Muhammed “Theokoles” Işık and ex-BBL Queens player Dilara Esma Toprakçı (who the team dropped after allegations of involvement in this money laundering scheme) are confirmed by local news sources. Other prominent names include are Grand Theft Auto streamer Sude “FoxVelox” Erdem, Just Chatting streamer Figen “Figonatci” Bengi and Boran “Apollocs” Mahmutoğlu.
The detainments come two months after a money laundering scandal in Turkey that involved streamers and some members of the competitive gaming scene. Those involved allegedly took in money via stolen credit cards in the form of Twitch Bits, then returned some of the money to the sender and kept some for themselves.
Authorities confiscated many documents and equipment during searches of detainees’ homes and workplaces on Tuesday. One instance was documented in this minute-long video of police entering and searching what seems to be Figotnatci’s home.
According to the Sozcu article, as of now, the confirmed amount of money laundered in this bit scam goes up to $1 million. According to Ahmet “Jahrein” Sonuç, a streamer who has been following this incident, this is “just the first wave and detainments will continue whether these people are arrested or not.”
Gürsel Tekin, a member of the Turkish Grand National Assembly whose inquiry of this issue started these detainments, issued a written statement Tuesday about the subject. While he said he expected the legal process to bring details to light, he criticized Twitch for allowing this to happen on their platform in the first place.
“If Twitch didn’t want people to launder money through their platform, they should’ve taken the necessary steps to prevent it,” Tekin wrote. “After today, our government should start the much-needed process of involving the American government to stop this platform from becoming a tool of money laundering.”
Tekin ended his statement by saying “I want to thank our youth who has been following through with this issue, alerting the authorities and getting our attention about this issue and congratulate all of us who kept #TemizTwitch alive and helped us stop this crime.”
Editor’s Note: This is a developing story.