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Turkish fraudsters try to steal money from bank account of detained Uyghur businessman

ANI | Updated: Feb 23, 2022 18:31 IST

Washington [US], February 23 (ANI): Fraudsters in Turkey were trying to steal money from the bank account of detained Uyghur businessman, Ekber Imin who is serving a 25-year prison sentence in China's Xinjiang region.
Jilil Musha, writing in Radio Free Asia (RFA) said that the criminals used fake documents to try to transfer 225 million Turkish liras (USD 16 million) from Ekber's bank account.
Imin's case was reported in Turkish media around the time that Turkey and China had signed a cooperation agreement on anti-money laundering and counterterrorism financing on December 30, 2021.
The agreement, which requires all parties to provide each other with information on the financial activities of specific individuals and companies involved in any crimes, sparked concern among Uyghur human rights groups about the financial and economic security of Uyghurs in Turkey, said Jilil.
Though the cooperative agreement does not impose any absolute obligations on Turkey, it is still dangerous for Uyghurs living in Turkey, said Abdullah Tikic, an attorney who represents Uyghur refugees in Turkey.
Tikic said that if China forces Imin to appoint a representative, the money will be returned to China, and his family in Turkey will likely not get it.
The attorney said that other Uyghurs in Turkey fear that they may never be able to reclaim their own money they left in Chinese banks and could not transfer the money when they leave Xinjiang, reported RFA.

"The most difficult part of the issue is that many Uyghurs in Turkey who are struggling financially had assets and money in China, but could not bring their money to Turkey," he told RFA "And to do that successfully, the Chinese judiciary has to be involved."
Such procedures are lengthy affairs that require formalities in both China and Turkey depending on whether the money was deposited in the name of a company or an individual, he said.
"Economically speaking, it is dangerous," he said.
"It is not clear what information and about whom Turkey has already provided," he said. "What I mean is that Turkey doesn't have an obligation to provide information on people if their information is related to public order and the interest of the country."
Imin, whose name in Chinese is Aikebaier Yiming, was the head of the Guzel Makan (Beautiful Land) Real Estate firm and several other companies in Hotan. He went missing in mid-2018 and was later confirmed to be jailed on charges including "extremism," along with two of his brother and at least 20 of his employees, official sources told RFA in a previous report.
In January 2020, RFA reported that Imin had been sentenced by Chinese authorities in 2018 to 25 years in prison for having foreign contacts and spreading extremism by incorporating ethnic and religious elements in the buildings he developed, reported Jilil.
Chinese authorities arrested Imin in 2018 and imprisoned him, as they have done to other prominent Uyghur businesspeople amid an intensified crackdown on mostly Muslim ethnic minority groups that began in 2017. Authorities usually claim that the business people have trade or financial ties with foreign terrorists or terrorist groups. (ANI)