Turkey demands 40,000-year sentences for alleged scammers in exiting cryptocurrency

Turkey is prosecuting colossal sentences of more than 40,000 years for suspects allegedly linked to a fraudulent cryptocurrency exchange.

A prosecutor is demanding sentences of up to 40,564 years each for 21 individuals accused of operating Thodex, a now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange.

As reported by Demiroren, via Bloomberg, the alleged founders and executives of Thodex are in the prosecution’s view.

The indictment, issued Thursday, cites Faruk Fatih Ozer, the 28-year-old CEO of the cryptocurrency exchange who disappeared a year ago.

In April 2021, a notice was posted on the Thodex website informing users that the trading post would be closed for a few days to handle a “sale” process.

The cryptocurrency exchange never reopened and investors were unable to access their accounts or withdraw funds. Thodex claimed on social media that no one had been scammed or lost their money.

However, many accused the exchange of running an exit scam. At the time, Thodex called the allegations “baseless” and nothing more than a “smear campaign”.

While reports at the time estimated losses in the billions of dollars, the indictment has revised that figure to closer to $24 million.

An international arrest warrant has been issued for Ozer, who was reportedly last seen in the same month that the cryptocurrency exchange was shut down while boarding a flight to Albania from Istanbul airport. The CEO claimed that he met investors abroad.

Interpol has published a Red Notice for Ozer. The Turkish national is wanted for “establishing organizations with the aim of committing crimes” [and] serious fraud,” said the police.

Ozer is still missing, despite promises made last year that he would return to his home country to cooperate with local authorities.

Cryptocurrency is a popular tax outlet for many members of the younger Turkish generation due to Turkey’s economic problems and the volatile lira. The trend has haunted Turkish financial authorities for years, with measures being discussed, but citizens continue to pursue potential crypto gains in stablecoins – as well as in fiat currencies, including the US dollar.

Last month, two alleged operators of a back pull non-fungible token (NFT) scam were arrested by US law enforcement officers.

The two 20-year-old suspects have been charged with running Frosties, an NFT project that raised approximately $1.1 million before an exit scam allegedly took place that left investors out of money. The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has issued fraud-related charges.

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