Ten suspects have been charged with human smuggling, encouraging prostitution and establishing a crime syndicate in connection with a Turkish state superyacht that was at the center of a series of sex parties.

Tevfik Arif, a businessman of Kazakh origin and chairman of the New York-based Bayrock Group, yesterday pleaded not guilty to financing a sex party in a Turkish court. According to the Anatolia news agency, Arif said the charges were “imaginary”.

The case centers around the MV Savarona, a 136m (446ft) superyacht owned by the Turkish government but chartered out to a private firm. In September, police raided the boat and broke up a prostitution ring. Turkey deported nine Russian and Ukrainian women, including two minors. Police said it was used to finance lavish sex parties for wealthy businessmen and that the prostitutes were flown in for two- and three-day charters.

The yacht has historic significance for Turkey because it was used by Mustafa Kemal Atat