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Austrian court accepts US extradition request for fugitive Turkish businessman

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An Austrian court on Monday accepted an extradition request from the United States for fugitive Turkish businessman Sezgin Baran Korkmaz, who is accused by US prosecutors of money laundering, Deutsche Welle Turkish edition reported.

Korkmaz was arrested on June 19 in Austria at the request of the US Department of Justice. Both Turkey and the US are seeking his extradition, and an Austrian court had accepted an extradition request from Turkey for Korkmaz in August. The Federal Ministry of Justice of Austria is now expected to decide to which country Korkmaz will be extradited.

US prosecutors allege that the businessman laundered more than $133 million in fraud proceeds through bank accounts that he controlled in Turkey and Luxembourg.

They accuse him and his accomplices, two members of a polygamist group in Utah, Jacob and Isaiah Kingston, and a California-based fuel company owner named in US documents as Levon Termendzhyan, of using the money to buy the Turkish airline Borajet, hotels in Turkey and Switzerland, a yacht called the Queen Anne and a villa and apartment overlooking the Bosporus in İstanbul.

There is also an ongoing investigation into Korkmaz in Turkey over charges of money laundering and fraud.

American prosecutors want Korkmaz tried in the US. Speaking from jail to a Turkish reporter in July, Korkmaz said he would rather face justice at home, where he is likely to get a lighter sentence.

The businessman has denied the claims against him.

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