Reasons for Money Blocking
There are various legal grounds for money blocks in miscellaneous laws in Turkey. There might be different legal reasons for blocking money in bank accounts. These reasons might be based on different provisions in different statutes such as debt collection statutes, the Code of Civil Procedure, the Code of Criminal Procedure, and particularly the anti money laundering statute, famously known as the Law Number 5549. If a bank account or the money in an account is blocked, the legal ground might be based on one of the reasons below:
Frozen Bank Accounts
1. Block Due to Unpaid Debt
In this case, a person’s bank account can be blocked regardless of the amount of debt. In addition, the debtor’s all bank accounts can be blocked through a debt collection case. The second reason for debt-based blocking is the online garnishment of the tax offices due to tax debts. In this case, a tax payer’s bank account can be blocked without a notice. In order for this garnishment to be implemented, the tax office must send a payment order and the debt must not be paid within the time limit.
2. Preliminary Injunction Order by a Court
A civil court may impose an injunction on the defendant’s bank account. Such blocks are generally imposed in civil cases in which the dispute related to money or property claims.
3. Fraud Reports
In some cases, a bank itself may block an account itself. Such blocks usually occur as a result of the sender’s notice about fraud or forgery in a bank transfer. In this type of blockage, which we mostly encounter in international transfers, after sending money, the sender notifies the sender bank of fraud or forgery, then the sending bank conveys the situation to the receiving bank, and if the claim is found serious, the receiving bank puts a temporary block on the account with it and prevents the recipient from withdrawing the money.
4. Money Seizure Orders by Courts
Pursuant to Articles 127 and 128 of the Turkish Code of Criminal Procedure, money in a bank account can be seized as contraband, in case there is a strong suspicion that the money in bank account have been received as the result of crimes that have been committed, or received from other criminal activities.
5. Financial Police (MASAK) Blocks
The MASAK block is imposed within the framework of the Law No. 5549, known as the Anti Money Laundering Law. If the money is obtained by committing a crime it is considered dirty money. In other words, if the money is earned as a result of committing any kind of crime constitutes a reason for MASAK to block or freeze the money. The two most common types of MASAK blocking we encounter in practice are illegal bet or gambling related blocking, and cryptocurrency related blocking, which are covered by article 19/A of the law 5549. Both of these blocks are placed in case of detection of some suspicious transactions, which are mentioned below, but not limited to these. Some of these suspicious transactions are as follows:
- Incoming transfers from many different senders to an account in a short time
- Significant money inflows into a newly opened account in a short time
- Receiving a considerable amount of money inconsistent with the job and profession of the person
- Numerous money transfers that do not have an explanation or a reason
5.1. MASAK Block Due to Illegal Betting or Gambling
After the new legal regulations on illegal betting made in the past years, MASAK blocks are imposed on bank accounts due to illegal betting crimes within the scope of Law No. 7258. However, in practice, we see that sometimes bank accounts are also blocked because of illegal gambling.
5.2. MASAK’s Block for Suspicious Cryptocurrency Transaction
It has been possible for cryptocurrency assets and coins to be blocked under the Law No. 5549 since the change in the law in 2021. Therefor, cryptocurrency accounts in Turkey can be blocked in case of any suspicious transactions under the Law 5549. Additionally, crypto account can also be blocked if the account has been used for Bitcoin scams or cryptocurrency fraud.
As explained above, a bank account can be blocked for various legal reasons. Since our law firm does not practice in the field of debt collection law, we provide legal services to release blocked money in cases of other blocking reasons, such as fraud reports, court orders, and MASAK blocks. Therefore, people whose accounts are blocked in Turkey can contact us to get comprehensive legal services related to these legal matters.