Halil Falyalı, a prominent Turkish Cypriot businessperson who was recently facing several legal issues, was shot dead in an assault in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' (TRNC) city Girne (Kyrenia), near his home on Tuesday evening. Falyalı was traveling in a motorcade when unknown gunmen sprayed his car with gunfire, according to media reports.
His driver died at the scene while Falyalı succumbed to his wounds at a hospital he was taken to in Lefkoşa (Nicosia). Doctors said he had multiple gunshot wounds on his body.
Turkish Cypriot police said in a statement that an investigation was underway and photos allegedly showing gunmen in a security camera footage still spreading on social media were false. A manhunt is underway to find the suspects who reportedly fled by sea following the incident. Ihlas News Agency (IHA) reported on Wednesday that one suspect was detained in connection with the incident.
A former bodyguard turned businessperson, Falyalı was the owner of a popular hotel/casino in Girne. He was entangled with several lawsuits in recent years. In 2010, he was arrested on charges of threat but was later released. Last year, he was again arrested and tried on charges of assault and abduction over a case involving a former employee he allegedly held for stealing his money. The case was closed on lack of evidence and Falyalı was released from prison in December. He was also a defendant in a trial in the United States over money laundering.
A well-known figure in Turkish Cypriot business community, Falyalı’s name came up in notorious videos of a fugitive Turkish mobster last year, who claimed Falyalı secretly videotaped people staying in his hotel to blackmail them.