Crypto exchange founder sentenced to 11,196 years in prison for fraud

Temitope Akintade
Turkish crypto exchange boss, Faruk Fatih Ozer sentenced to 11 years in Jail

The founder of the collapsed Thodex crypto exchange, Faruk Fatih Ozer, was sentenced to 11,196 years in jail by a court in Turkey. Faruk Fatih Ozer was sentenced alongside his siblings after being found guilty of aggravated fraud, running a criminal organization, and money laundering.

Also, the blockchain ecosystem was thrown into a panic earlier in the week when reports came out that Stake, the world’s largest casino and sportsbook that allows users to deposit and play with cryptocurrencies was targeted in a $41 million breach. 

Following the exploit, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in a statement released on Thursday, has confirmed that North Korea-linked hacker collective Lazarus Group was behind the hack.

Here are crypto stories from around the world this week

CZ says all is well 

Binance co-founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao has toned down recent rumours against his firm, assuring its balance sheet and employee retention remain robust despite the recent market uncertainty. 

In a post on X (Twitter) on Thursday, he blamed negative news, rumours, bank runs, lawsuits, the closing of fiat channels, product wind-downs and employee turnovers for creating an environment of FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt). 

Binance, is planning to terminate its support for its native BUSD stablecoin by 2024.

Guess what we don’t have? No liquidity issues. All withdrawals (and deposits) are properly handled. All customer funds are #SAFU, and 100% reserved.”

We reported earlier in the week that another top executive left the crypto exchange.

Read here:

Head of Product at Binance, Mayur Kamat quits amidst instability at the exchange

IMF & FSB release joint paper on crypto 

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Financial Stability Board (FSB) published a joint paper on Thursday. The crypto-focused paper provides guidance and helps various jurisdictions address risks associated with crypto asset activities.

It includes recommendations for regulating activities related to stablecoins and decentralized finance (DeFi). Also, it describes how regulatory frameworks and policies developed by both the IMF and the FSB can interact and fit together. 

It however does not set or establish new policies, recommendations or expectations for relevant authorities.

Collapsed crypto exchange founder sentenced to jail 

According to local media reports, Faruk Fatih Özer, the founder of the collapsed Turkish crypto exchange Thodex, his sister Serap Özer and his brother Güven Özer have been sentenced to 11,196 years, 10 months and 15 days in prison. Also, a judicial fine of 135 million liras ($5 million approximately) was imposed.

Turkish crypto exchange boss, Faruk Fatih Ozer sentenced to 11 years in Jail

Recall that Thodex was one of Turkey’s largest crypto exchanges before it suddenly went offline in April 2021 and Faruk Fatih Özer went missing. Over 400,000 members were left in the dark without access to deposits of $2 billion in cryptocurrencies. Özer had fled to Albania but was arrested in August 2022 after an Interpol red notice against him.

Earlier in April, Faruk Fatih Özer was extradited to Turkey, and detained by police upon arrival on seven charges. Later on, Faruk Fatih Özer’s brother, sister and four other senior employees were jailed and at least 83 people were detained as part of the investigation. 

FBI says Lazarus Group was behind Stake hack 

According to an announcement by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Thursday, the $41 million hack of crypto gambling site Stake was carried out by the North Korean Lazarus Group, a notorious cybercrime organization believed to be associated with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea).

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Per the statement, the agency has carried out an investigation and has concluded that the attack was performed by the Lazarus Group. Additionally, the group has stolen more than $200 million of crypto in 2023.

Stake is a crypto gambling platform that offers casino games and sports betting. The platform was a victim of an exploit that drained over $41 million worth of cryptocurrency from its hot wallets. The Stake team stated that the hacker only obtained a small percentage of funds and that users would not be affected.

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