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Turkish crypto founder sentenced to 11,196 years in jail

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A Turkish crypto founder and his two brothers were sentenced to 11,196 years in jail each on Friday for money laundering, fraud, and establishing a criminal organization.

Faruk Fatih Ozer, the 29-year-old founder of Thodex, a major Turkish crypto exchange, fled the country in April 2021 with an estimated $2 billion in investor assets. He was arrested last year in Albania on an international arrest warrant from Interpol.

Ozer’s two brothers, Serap and Guven, were also sentenced to 11,196 years in jail.

Prosecutors had asked for Ozer to be sentenced to 40,562 years in prison, but the court reduced the sentence due to the lack of evidence of some of the charges.

The case has grabbed headlines in Turkey, coinciding with a crypto boom that has since largely subsided due to heavier government regulation.

Turks began turning to cryptocurrencies as a defense against a deep slide in the value of the lira that began more than two years ago.

Ozer gained further celebrity status after being pictured meeting with ultranationalist pro-government figures.

In a statement to the court, Ozer denied the charges, saying he was the victim of a smear campaign.

If I were to establish a criminal organization, I would not have acted so amateurishly,” he said.

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