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Thodex cryptocurrency boss jailed for 11,196 years in Turkey for fraud


Faruk Fatih Ozer fled Turkey after Thodex's collapse.


A Turkish cryptocurrency boss and his two siblings have been jailed for 11,196 years each for defrauding investors of millions of dollars.


Faruk Fatih Ozer, 29, fled to Albania in 2021 with investor assets after his Thodex exchange suddenly collapsed.


He was extradited back to Turkey in June and found guilty of money-laundering, fraud and organised crime.


Ozer told the court he would "not have acted so amateurishly" if his intent was criminal, state media reported.


"I am smart enough to lead any institution on Earth," the Anadolu agency quoted him as saying.


"That is evident in this company I established at the age of 22."


The brief trial in Istanbul also found his sister Serap and brother Guven guilty of the same charges.


Turkish news agencies said that the defendants were sentenced separately for multiple crimes against 2,027 victims, leading to the total number of years in the judgement.

Such extraordinary prison sentences are common in Turkey since the abolition of the death penalty in 2004.


Adnan Oktar, a TV cult preacher, was jailed for 8,658 years in 2022 for fraud and sex crimes. Ten of his followers received the same sentence.


Prosecutors had asked for Ozer to be sentenced to 40,562 years in prison, AFP reported.

Turks began using cryptocurrencies as a defence against a deep slide in the value of the lira that began more than two years ago.


Thodex was founded in 2017 and became one of the country's largest exchanges for virtual currencies.


Ozer gained national fame as a financial whizz and ingratiated his way into the establishment by befriending prominent pro-government figures.


However, the platform suddenly imploded in April 2021. Investor assets disappeared and Ozer went into hiding.


He was arrested last year in Albania on an international warrant from Interpol and extradited after a lengthy legal process.


Turkish media previously reported that Ozer had fled with assets worth $2bn (£1.6bn).

The prosecutor's indictment, however, estimates total losses to Thodex investors at 356 million liras.


That amount was worth about $43m at the time of the exchange's implosion.

The same amount is now worth about $13m because of rampant inflation and the lira's collapse on the international markets.


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