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Swiss police hunt for Turkish businessman

Swiss police are investigating the whereabouts of a Turkish businessman suspected of embezzling millions of francs from small investors.

According to a Sunday newspaper report, 44-year-old Fadil Akgündüz is accused of using the money to finance extremist Islamic organisations.

The Swiss newspaper, "SonntagsZeitung", reports that Turkish authorities have issued an international arrest warrant for Akgündüz.

Agkündüz - believed by Turkish police to be still in Switzerland - stands accused of defrauding investors by selling stakes in a company which claimed to be manufacturing the first home-grown Turkish car.

The paper reports that only two prototype models of the car - marketed under the brand name "Imza" - were ever made, and that at least part of the money raised from selling stakes in the company was used by Agkündüz to support the activities of extremist Islamic organisations.

Frozen accounts

Acting on instructions from justice authorities, the Swiss bank, Credit Suisse, is reported to have frozen all bank accounts linked to the company, which had registered offices - both of which now stand deserted - in the Swiss cities of Zug and Zurich.

But the "SonntagsZeitung" reports that a total sum of only SFr100,000 remains blocked in the accounts.

Police in Switzerland, Germany, Liechtenstein and Turkey, meanwhile, have stepped up the search for Agkündüz, who is believed to have swindled a total of SFr800 million out of investors.

Folco Galli, spokesman for the Swiss justice ministry, confirmed on Sunday that Turkish authorities had already issued a formal extradition warrant for Agkündüz.

Galli also confirmed Agkündüz was still on the run, adding that he was wanted for a variety of fraudulent activities in "several European countries".

Justice ministry officials say the suspect is of no fixed abode and is not in possession of Swiss residency permit.

swissinfo with agencies


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