Turkey seeks thousands of years jail time for missing crypto CEO

A Turkish prosecutor is pursuing jail sentences totaling thousands of years for founders and executives of the Thodex cryptocurrency exchange, a year after it halted trading and its chief executive disappeared.

The indictment on Istanbul-based Thodex seeks sentences of up to 40,564 years for each of the 21 defendants, Demiroren News Agency reported Thursday.

They include the 28-year-old CEO Faruk Fatih Ozer, who has been missing for the past year. After footage of Ozer at Istanbul airport emerged in April 2021, Turkish police teams have flown to four countries including Albania in failed attempts to locate him.

Ozer remains wanted with a red notice, according to the Interpol website.

Thodex was part of the cryptocurrency boom that drew in legions of Turks seeking to protect their savings from rampant inflation and an unstable currency.

In a statement from an unknown location in April 2021, Ozer promised to repay investors and to return to Turkey to face justice at a later date.

The indictment says total losses due to the collapse of the exchange amounted to 356 million liras (US$24mil/RM101mil), a figure far below the US$2.6bil (RM11mil) estimated in a February report by Chainalysis.

It said Thodex was responsible for about 90% of the total value lost globally to so-called rug pulls in 2021. The defendants are accused of establishing a criminal organisation, fraud through informatics systems and laundering proceeds from criminal activity, according to the Demiroren report. – Bloomberg

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