Turkish police have arrested 40 people with another four suspects at large, after a money laundering scheme using streaming site Twitch was exposed several months ago.
As reported by Daily Sabah (thanks, PC Gamer), 40 people have been arrested after last year’s Twitch security breach revealed the site was used as a money laundering ring that processed around £7.3million ($10million) for criminals.
The 40 arrests were made across 11 provinces in Turkey following a probe by the Chief Prosecutor’s Office in Istanbul, with another four suspects still at large.
Allegations of criminals using Twitch to launder money surfaced in November 2021, as the site’s major security breach revealed that certain streamers in Turkey were raising sizeable Bits (a Twitch-specific currency) in donations despite having very small follower counts.
It was then discovered that these donations were paid for with stolen credit cards, and the streamer would refund the donation into various other bank accounts while keeping a certain amount as their cut. According to Demirören News Agency, some of the streamers involved in the money laundering scheme were aware that the donations were paid for with stolen credit cards.
One streamer who was involved said that after naively agreeing to take part in the scheme, they were blackmailed to continue participating after learning it was illegal. Turkish politician Gürsel Tekin touched on the scheme affecting minors, stating that “a certain age group does not fully understand the subject because they are unfamiliar with these platforms and their operation”.
At the time, a Twitch spokesperson said the site had taken action “against over 150 partners in Turkey for abuse of our monetisation tools” in September 2021.