The founder of the former Turkish crypto exchange Thodex, Faruk Özer, has been sentenced to 11,196 years in prison. Local media channels report on this.
In April 2021, the exchange suddenly went offline and its 400,000 customers left empty-handed. Özer disappeared to Albania, but was arrested a year later and extradited to his home country. His trial is now over and Özer will not be released for the time being.
Turkish crypto scandal
In addition to Özer himself, his brother and sister also received the same punishment. A fine of 135 million Turkish lira was also imposed. This corresponds to an amount of 5 million euros. In addition to the three, 16 other people were also sentenced to significant sentences.
After Özer fled to Albania in April 2021, he received a so-called “Red Notice” from Interpol. He was arrested in August 2022 and returned to Turkey. Upon arrival he was arrested and charged with several offenses including fraud and money laundering. The prosecutor even demanded a prison sentence of 40,000 years. In total, Özer stole $2 billion from a total of 400,000 Thodex customers.
Crypto is popular in Turkey
Of course, this was a big fiasco as crypto is very popular in Turkey. The country has long struggled with soaring inflation and many Turks are seeking refuge in cryptocurrencies. The Turkish lira is losing more value every day and crypto is one of the few accessible assets that Turks can use to protect their purchasing power.
A recent study by crypto exchange Kucoin has discovered how popular crypto actually is in Turkey. According to the study, more than half (52 percent) of all Turks own crypto. Kucoin also concludes that this immense popularity is due to rising inflation in the country.
“According to our findings and previous reports, the massive increase in the number of crypto investors in Turkey indicates increasing interest and acceptance of crypto as a hedge against inflation, especially now that the Turkish lira has lost more than 50% of its value “the US dollar.”