Tevfik Arif, Kazakh Businessman, Slams Turkey Yacht Sex Party Allegations As 'Imaginary'
UPDATE at 6:00pm ET on May 16, 2012: Tevfik Arif was acquitted of all charges in April 2011, according to The Guardian. Read more from The Guardian's original report.
On trial in the Mediterranean city of Antalya, Kazakh businessman Tevfik Arif has angrily denied charges of bankrolling a sex party comprised of underage prostitutes on one of the world's largest and most famous yachts.
As the Guardian reports, Arif went on trial with nine additional suspects for charges that include human trafficking, establishing a crime ring and encouraging prostitution aboard the Savarona, a yacht once owned by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the late founder of modern Turkey. In September, officials deported nine Russian and Ukrainian women, two of which were under the legal age of consent, who were said to be part of a prostitution ring aboard the ship.
Arif, whose work includes partnerships with firms in the U.S. and Britain, has denied all involvement in the case. "I am not accepting any of these charges," Arif is quoted by SkyNews as saying during the hearing, and went on to call the charges "imaginary" before the court adjourned the trial until Feb. 18, 2011.
According to the New Zealand Herald, Turkish officials have been planning to turn the ship into a museum since the raid.