Turkish Cypriot mob boss Halil Falyalı, who owned several casinos and hotels in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC), a self-proclaimed state on the predominantly Turkish side of Cyprus, has died in an attack that took place in front of his house in Kyrenia, Turkish media reported on Tuesday.
Unknown assailants opened fire on Falyalı’s car while he was inside. Falyalı succumbed to his injuries at Dr. Burhan Nalbantoğlu State Hospital in Nicosia, according to local media reports, which added that Falyalı’s driver was also killed in the attack.
Falyalı came to public attention in Turkey in May 2021, when notorious Turkish mob boss Sedat Peker had alleged while exposing the Turkish government’s involvement in international cocaine trafficking that the drug was being shipped to Turkey from Venezuela and then to the Middle East on luxury yachts while the profits were laundered in the KKTC by Falyalı.
Falyalı, who was alleged to have had shady relations with Turkish government figures, owned several casinos and hotels in the KKTC including Les Ambassadeurs Hotel & Casino, one of the island’s most luxurious.
Peker, the head of one of Turkey’s most powerful mafia groups and once a staunch supporter of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, set the country’s political agenda last summer through shocking revelations he made on social media about state-mafia relations, drug trafficking and murders implicating state officials.
According to Peker, Erkan Yıldırım, the son of senior ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) politician Binali Yıldırım, former minister Mehmet Ağar and Falyalı were running the cocaine operation, while the current interior minister, Süleyman Soylu, afforded them immunity. The revenue was laundered through Falyalı’s casinos in the KKTC and on online betting sites before being injected into Turkey’s economy.
Peker also had said Falyalı was influential in the Erdoğan government and that he possessed sex tapes of a number of politicians and bureaucrats whom he hosted at his luxury hotels in Cyprus.
In November Peker said he was in possession of sex tapes featuring prominent figures from Turkey, claiming to have gotten ahold of them from Falyalı after he was detained in the KKTC in October on charges that included battery and kidnapping.
Following a two-month detention, Falyalı was released in December.
Peker accused Turkish politicians without explicitly naming them of being hypocrites for marginalizing LGBT people and of engaging in what he implied were same-sex relations, captured on tape.
In May 2011 a US district court in Virginia charged Falyalı with money laundering and drug trafficking. The trial was concluded in absentia in 2016, and Falyalı was found guilty. He has been wanted by US authorities ever since, the reason Falyalı never left the KKTC. Enjoying considerable influence over the small island with his multibillion-dollar fortune, Falyalı managed to avoid any handover to the US.