Sunday, 10 September 2023 04:43

Founder of a failed crypto exchange sentenced to 11,000 years in prison

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  • A Turkish court sentenced Faruk Fatih Ozer, the founder of failed crypto exchange Thodex, to 11,196 years in prison.
  • Ozer and his two siblings received similar jail times on Thursday, Bloomberg reported. The court found them guilty of fraud and other charges.
  • Ozer dropped out of high school and had founded Thodex in 2017.

A Turkish court on Thursday found Faruk Fatih Ozer, the high-school dropout founder of failed cryptocurrency exchange Thodex, guilty of on multiple charges including leading a criminal organization, aggravated fraud, and money laundering.

He was sentenced to 11,196 years in prison, according to a Bloombergreport.

Ozer had founded his company in 2017 and it became one of Turkey's largest crypto exchanges. In April 2021, the firm announced that it wasn't able to continue operations, and Ozer fled to Albania. At the time, he did promise to repay investors, and then return to Turkey after he had done so. 

Earlier this year, he was extradited to Turkey after an extended legal battle.

His two siblings received similar sentences on Thursday, and were found guilty of the same three charges, per Bloomberg.

"I am smart enough to lead any institution on Earth," Ozer said in court, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported him as saying. "That is evident in this company I established at the age of 22. I wouldn't have acted so amateurishly if this were a criminal organization."

Prosecutors estimate that the fall of Thodex resulted in about $13 million in investor losses, though the actual amount remains unknown. Turkish media have reported those losses being as high as $2 billion. 

The sentencing comes as another high-profile crypto mogul awaits trial. Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of FTX and Alameda Research, will head to court next month. Bankman-Fried's crypto exchange imploded in November 2022, sparking a chain reaction of bankruptcies and blow-ups that led many in the sector to name it crypto's "Lehman moment."

Now, Bankman-Fried reportedly wants to pay seven expert witnesses up to $1,200 an hour to testify on his behalf. Separately, his attorney has alleged that the disgraced mogul does not have access to Adderall medication in prison, and that he is surviving off a diet of bread, water, and peanut butter.


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