On the recommendation of the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Istanbul Magistrates’ Court has ordered the seizure of assets belonging to 14 individuals as part of a money-laundering investigation, including those belonging to Sezgin Baran Korkmaz, chairman of defunct carrier BoraJet Airlines (YB, Istanbul Sabiha Gökcen), the Turkish newspaper Sözcü reported.

The seizure of assets was aimed at collecting further evidence, the court said. The assets include several communications, energy, investment, pharmaceuticals, and technology firms that are part of an ongoing fraud case in the United States.

As ch-aviation reported at the time, BoraJet Airlines, founded in 2010, was acquired by Korkmaz’s Turkish private equity firm SBK Holding for a reported USD260 million in late 2016.

It suspended all operations on April 24, 2017, saying it had to resolve “technical issues” affecting its fleet of two E190s and four E195s. However, the scheduled carrier, which had served 18 destinations in Turkey, Germany, Lebanon, Iraq, Northern Cyprus, Italy, and Greece, never resumed its flights.

The latest court order follows a request from US prosecutors in September to seize firms owned by the brothers Jacob and Isaiah Kingston, dubbed the Mormon crime brothers, as well as Lev Dermen, also known as Levon Termendzhyan. All are longtime associates of Korkmaz, according to the online news website Ahval.

Dermen currently faces trial in the United States over a USD1 billion mail fraud scheme. The Kingstons, meanwhile, face trial in Utah accused of transferring about USD140 million to Korkmaz’s SBK Holding as part of a decade-long fraud that allegedly conned the United States Internal Revenue Services (IRS) out of at least USD470 million in total.

The Kingstons allegedly claimed hundreds of millions of tax credits between 2010 and 2016 after falsifying documentation to show that their company Washakie Renewable Energy had been manufacturing biofuels.

The money sent to Turkey, between 2014 and 2018, was invested in acquiring companies and real estate, according to court documents. Last year, Borajet Airlines founder Yalcin Ayasli, a prominent Turkish-American entrepreneur, launched a court case claiming that a group of individuals led by Korkmaz had used extortion and money laundering to acquire the carrier.

After the latest developments, on October 9, Korkmaz tweeted a photo of himself in his hometown of Kars saying: “Here we go again, put on the tea.”