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‘Leijdekkers’ and ‘Comanchero’ operations spotlighted in Türkiye’s FATF meetings

'Leijdekkers' and 'Comanchero' operations spotlighted in Türkiye's FATF meetings Turkish law enforcement officers. (Wikimedia Commons)
By Newsroom
Jun 29, 2024 12:26 AM

During recent talks with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Turkish authorities highlighted two large law enforcement operations aimed against organized criminal gangs, “Leijdekkers” and “Comanchero.”

According to Ministry of Interior officials, conversations between Turkish authorities and the FATF team over the last year have emphasized these activities as best practices in countering organized crime.

Türkiyeas submitted the “Leijdekkers Operation” as a notable example during a Review Meeting on September 1, 2023, in Tirana, Albania. This operation, conducted by the Istanbul Police Department in coordination with the Narcotics Division and the Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK), resulted in the arrest of 34 people, including Joseph Johannes Leijdekkers, a Dutch citizen who sought after with a Red Notice.

The operation also resulted in the confiscation of assets worth about 1.1 billion Turkish lira belonging to the accused. This endeavor was lauded by FATF experts as a “proactive, complex, and rare money laundering investigation.”

In a following summit held in Ankara on May 3, 2024, the “Comanchero Operation” was cited as another important achievement. This investigation brought down a multinational armed criminal organization located in Austria that was engaged in drug trafficking, homicide, armed robbery, arson, abduction, and money laundering on a global scale.

Following Mick Hawi’s killing in 2018, Mark Douglas Buddle led the group until his capture in Northern Cyprus in 2022 and extradition to Australia. Despite this, prominent people such as Hakan Ayık and Duax Hohepa Ngakuru assumed command and continued illicit operations.

FATF officials labeled the “Comanchero Operation” an “exciting and commendable” investigation because of its multifaceted strategy and substantial international collaboration, notably with Australian authorities.

The “FATF Assessment Report,” produced after these sessions, rated Türkiye’s efforts to prevent money laundering as adequate.

Last Updated:  Jun 29, 2024 12:26 AM