More than a year ago, Faruk Fatih Ozer, founder and CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Thodex, was arrested by Turkish authorities. After a lengthy trial, Fatih was found guilty of multiple financial crimes and sentenced to more than 11,000 years in prison.
Cryptocurrency exchange founder jailed for over 11,000 years
A Turkish court reportedly ruled against Fatih Ozer for his involvement in fraud and other financial crimes, including serious fraud, money laundering and running a criminal organization. Fatih operated Thodex until the platform crashed in 2021, causing hundreds of customers to lose their funds.
In addition to Fatih, a Turkish court also sentenced two of his family members. These individuals took more than $2 billion from its customers until the cryptocurrency exchange collapsed in April 2021 when the suspects fled Turkey in an attempt to evade criminal investigations.
In late 2022, when other crypto companies collapsed due to the long crypto winter, Fatih was captured by Albanian authorities and deported to his home country. The arrest came after the International Police Organization (Interpol) issued a red notice.
A few months later, Do Kwon, the founder of the Terra (LUNA) ecosystem, was arrested in a similar manner. Fatih is the first of many arrests in the cryptocurrency space, as exchanges and lending platforms have been hammered under the pressure of a high interest rate environment.
Similar to the collapse of the Terra ecosystem, the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange Thodex was felt across Turkey, with Fatih’s arrest becoming a high priority for state authorities. The report states:
Thodex, one of Turkey’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, went offline abruptly in April 2021 and Özer disappeared. More than 400,000 members are unable to access their money (…). The notice alleges that Özer had fraudulent intentions from the beginning and that Thodex is a criminal organization.
In Turkey, the price of Bitcoin has been hitting all-time highs compared to the local currency, even after plummeting against the US dollar. The country has been suffering from high inflation, leading many citizens to seek decentralized alternatives.
At the time of writing, Bitcoin (BTC) is trading at $25,800, moving sideways in the shorter term.
Cover image from Unsplash, chart from Tradingview