Turkish prosecutors are seeking jail time for over 20 suspects accused of involvement in a cryptocurrency scam worth $108 million, Diken news site reported on Thursday.
The indictment against 21 defendants, including Thodex’s 28-year-old founder and CEO Faruk Fatih Özer, calls for tens of thousands of years in prison on multiple charges, the site said.
Özer, who is accused of charges that include fraudulence by use of information systems and use of banks or credit institutions as a tool and founding a criminal organization, is facing up to 40,564 years behind bars, Diken said, citing the indictment.
The Thodex founder, who fled Turkey last year, remains at large.
In April of last year, Turkish prosecutors launched an investigation into Thodex over allegations it may have defrauded some 390,000 investors of an estimated $2 billion.
The probe followed complaints from users who could not access their assets. Thodex founder Özer following the probe deactivated his social media accounts with Turkish media reporting that he had fled for for Tirana, Albania. At the time, Özer denied the allegations of fraud and said he had left Turkey to hold meetings with foreign investors, adding the he would return to Turkey within “a few days” to cooperate with authorities.
Albanian authorities last year arrested two people accused of providing Özer with shelter.
Turkey was rocked by multiple crypto scams last year, including Vebitcoin, Turkey’s fourth biggest exchange with close to $60 million in daily volumes. The company in April 2021 halted operations, citing deteriorating financial conditions, days after Thodex halted operations.
Last year, Turkey to ban crypto as a form of payment. It remains legal to hold the asset although regulators frequently cite crypto as a form of evasion for capital controls and taxes.