Crypto Exchange Boss and Siblings Sentenced to 12,000 Years After $2 Billion Fraud

The boss of the collapsed Thodex crypto exchange was sentenced to nearly 12,000 years in jail on Thursday by a court in Turkey.

Faruk Fatih Ozer was sentenced alongside his sister, Serap Ozer, and his brother, Guven Ozer, after being found guilty of aggravated fraud, running a criminal organization, and money laundering.

Thodex Collapse Hit 400,000 Users

Thodex was one of Turkey’s biggest crypto exchanges until it suspended operations in April 2021. Nearly 400,000 users found themselves unable to withdraw funds, which led them to file fraud charges.

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Initially, the exchange announced it had “temporarily closed” due to an “abnormal fluctuation in the company accounts.” But Ozer fled the country after saying he was traveling to meet foreign investors.

During investigations, the authorities discovered that Ozer allegedly defrauded Thodex’s customers of approximately $2 billion. Simultaneously, Interpol issued a Red Notice against him for his capture.

After a two-year manhunt, investigators eventually tracked down Ozer, the CEO of Thodex, in the coastal Albania city of Vlore.

In April, they extradited him back to Turkey, where he stood trial alongside his siblings and four other senior staff. In total, 21 defendants faced sentences of over 40,000 years.

Crypto Gaining Traction in Turkey

The Anatolian 9th Heavy Penal Court acquitted 16 defendants and released another four already in jail citing lack of evidence.

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Cryptocurrency has become an increasingly popular form of investment in Turkey. Especially as a hedge against rampant inflation and following the devaluation of the lira.

A survey found investors are embracing crypto with the aim of generating wealth rather than making a quick return.

Why crypto is gaining traction among Turkish investors. | Source: KuCoin

The KuCoin report said:

“58% invest in crypto to grow wealth in the long run, followed by 37% for value storage.”

The monetary policy committee of country’s central bank recently declared its intention to continue tightening monetary policy until the situation is resolved:

“Monetary tightening will be further strengthened as much as needed in a timely and gradual manner until a significant improvement in the inflation outlook is achieved.”

Turkish financial authorities claim that cryptocurrency assets are “neither subject to any regulation and supervision mechanisms nor a central regulatory authority.”

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