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Turkiye: Crypto boss sentenced to 11,196 years in jail

September 9, 2023 at 2:52 pm

Faruk Fatih Özer, founder of Thodex, was brought to Turkey from Tirana on April 20, 2023 in Istanbul, Turkiye. [Photo by Hakan Akgun/ dia images via Getty Images]

A disgraced Turkish crypto founder and his two brothers who fled to Albania have been sentenced to 11,196 years in jail each, Anadolu Agency reported on Thursday.

Delivering its verdict late on Thursday, the court in Istanbul sentenced Faruk Fatih Ozer, founder of Thodex, and his two brothers to similar-length jail terms, finding them guilty of aggravated fraud, leading a criminal organisation and money laundering.

“If I were to establish a criminal organisation, I would not have acted so amateurishly,” Anadolu Agency reported Ozer telling the court.

Ozer was initially reported to have fled Turkiye in April 2021 with $2 billion in investor assets, although that figure has since been disputed.

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Prosecutors stated Ozer had transferred over TL 250 million ($30 million at the time) in user assets to three secret accounts when he fled Turkiye in April 2021, with much of the money ending up in a Maltese bank.

The indictment said the Ozer brothers had caused TL 356 million worth of client damages.

The case grabbed local headlines because it coincided with a Turkish crypto boom that has since largely subsided due to heavier government regulation.

Turks began turning to various cryptocurrencies to safeguard against a decline in the value of the lira that began more than two years ago.

Ozer was arrested last year in Albania on an international arrest warrant from INTERPOL.

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