Greece grants citizenship to man wanted for illegal gambling in Turkey

Posted: July 12, 2022, 7:28 a.m.

Last update on: July 12, 2022, 01:49h.

Despite an international arrest warrant in place, Greece has taken a bold step. He granted honorary citizenship to Yasam Ayavefe, a man Turkey wants to bring to justice for operating an illegal online gambling site.

Yasam Ayavefe
Yasam Ayavefe, in an undated photo. Turkey wants to extradite him from Greece for illegal gambling. But Greece issued him honorary citizenship instead. (Image: Posts from Turkey in English)

Ayavefe is active in business in the occupied areas of Cyprus. The portfolio he details on his website includes investments in luxury apartment buildings, a hotel and a casino in Kyrenia.

Following his involvement, Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and Interior Minister Makis Voridis signed the presidential decree granting citizenship on June 14. This despite an arrest record in Greece, as well as an Interpol Red Notice issued on behalf of Turkey in 2019.

Ayavefe reportedly operated several gambling websites outside of Turkey, including Hodemturk, Adapoker, Applecom and Apllege. However, their algorithms would have been corrected so that players consistently lose.

COVID-19 heroes?

The decision, according to Official newspaperwas based on the fact that Ayavefe contributed substantially with its sponsorships of health supplies, basic necessities and food to the effective treatment of the COVID-19 pandemic at the most critical time.

It would have prevented Greece’s national healthcare system from collapsing, helping the country find medical resources and supplies.

Moreover, with its investments and the development of its commercial activity in the country, it has contributed to the support of the Greek economy. He achieved this through promotion of the country in international economic circles. As a result, Greece believes that giving him citizenship will further strengthen its economy.

It is unclear whether Turkey has made a formal extradition request to Greece. However, if so, the chances of it being approved are slim. Greece and Turkey do not have the best relations.

After Turkish soldiers took part in a failed coup in their country in 2016, they sought refuge in Greece. However, when Turkey repeatedly tried to request the extradition, Greece rejected the requests.

FinTech Investor, Forbes Star

Ayavefe was born in Adana, Turkey, in 1983, according to Greece’s description of his honorary naturalization. He describes himself on his personal website as a “serial entrepreneur” and philanthropist. He then formed and became Chairman of the Board of Milaya Capital Limited, a London-based venture capital firm.

Ayavefe launched his first initiatives in the Turkish city of Mersin and on the island of Cyprus, where he specialized in telecommunications programming and cybersecurity. After that, he started his investment adventure in Cyprus, which he continued in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, the Balkans and the UK.

He also invested in a FinTech company that initially had issues with the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The company was able to overcome these problems. As he resolved his issues, Ayavefe parted ways with the company. It was also featured in a Forbes article, How a tech entrepreneur broke records with a $189 million valuation pre-launch on the $1 billion road.

Ayavefe, according to the local press, is one of the benefactors of the de facto “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” (TRNC). This is due to a series of donations he made during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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