New York real estate mogul arrested in Turkey on suspicion of running prostitute ring on $60m luxury yacht

14:39 15.09.2010

In April 2011, Tevfik Arif was acquitted of all charges.

A New York real estate mogul has been arrested in Turkey on suspicion of running a high-class prostitution racket onboard a luxury yacht.

Tevfik Arif, 57, is accused of setting up trysts between wealthy businessmen and Eastern European models on the $60million yacht once used by Mustafa Ataturk.

Arif was among 10 people arrested during the raid on Tuesday on charges of running a prostitution ring.

Prosecutor Yusuf Hakki Dogan said the Savarona yacht was used twice for sexual escapades, according to Turkish newspaper Hurriyet.

Ten models from Russia and the Ukraine were arrested, although one was later released.

The group of businessmen are said to have paid up to $10,000 per night to sleep with the women onboard the 450ft yacht.

Boasting 16 suites, a 282ft gold staircase, cinema, Turkish bath and helicopter pad, the Savaraona was used by Ataturk before he died in 1938.

Russian, Kyrgyz and Kazakh businessmen and government officials were among those arrested, according to Bloomberg.

Luxurious: The $60million Savarona, formerly owned by the founder of modern Turkey Mustafa Ataturk, where the arrests took place

Former owner: Mustafa Ataturk used the yacht before his death in 1938

A Turkish military policeman who led the helicopter raid on the Savarona told Milliyet that the team found all the yacht’s guests in bed when they landed around lunchtime.

The official said they found dozens of condoms in each room.

Arif was last night being questioned at a police station in Belek.

He has ties with Donald Trump and his company Bayrock Group developed the Trump SoHo and the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Fort Lauderdale, U.S.

Arif’s lawyer Engin Agyuzlu said he had been the victim of a ‘smear campaign’ and would ‘vigorously defend himself in any court of law’.

He was born in Kazakhstan and worked for the Ministry of Commerce and Trade in the former Soviet Union of 17 years, according to Real Estate Weekly.

He founded Bayrock Group in 2001 in New York and owns a $6million three-storey mansion in Port Washington, Long Island.

  • This article was amended on 5 April 2012 to reflect the fact that, in April 2011, Tevfik Arif was acquitted of all charges. The Court judgment also recorded that all the women on board the yacht were aged over 18.