Turkey seizes FTX assets in the country amid the ongoing investigation

Turkey’s Financial Crimes Investigation Board has seized assets belonging to Sam Bankman-Fried after launching an investigation into FTX’s affairs in the country.

Assets belonging to former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried have been seized by the country’s Financial Crimes Investigation Board, locally known as MASAK, following the collapse of his main business.

An official announcement from Turkey’s MASAK outlined preliminary findings and actions taken against Bankman-Fried following bankruptcy proceedings of its core business. MASAK began investigations on Nov. 14.

Cointelegraph translated the latest announcement from MASAK, which highlighted three key points from the investigation.

The Turkish investigatory body found that FTX failed to safely store user funds, embezzled customer funds through shady transactions and manipulated supply and demand in the market by having customers buy and sell listed cryptocurrencies that were not backed by actual cryptocurrency holdings.

As a result of these findings, MASAK seized Bankman-Fried’s and affiliates’ assets after finding strong ‘criminal suspicion’ on the above-mentioned points.

FTX TR’s website is still live but only shows a message to users with instructions to receive balances from accounts. Users are asked to share IBAN information and the Turkish identity number of their respective Turkish Lira accounts via a link. 

A LinkedIn post from FTX TR noted that the exchange had over 110,000 users and processed an average monthly transaction volume of $500 to $600 million since the launch of its mobile application earlier in 2022. The company employed 27 people.

The post also noted that the company had endeavored to transfer user balances in FTX TR to their bank accounts.

Related: FTX stake in US bank raises concerns about banking loopholes

FTX TR was managed by a former Binance executive who previously managed global business growth in the Turkish, CIS and EU. Cointelegraph has reached out to the former FTX TR head to ascertain whether the local operation was aware of improper business activities by its parent company and will update this article accordingly.

According to a local media report, the FTX website attracted an average of 187,000 unique visitors monthly from Turkey, the sixth highest number by country. 

FTX is now undergoing bankruptcy proceedings led by new CEO John Ray III. The man responsible for unraveling the infamous collapse of Enron in the early 2000s described the FTX debacle as the worst he had seen in his professional career.

A strategic review of FTX’s global assets is currently being undertaken as part of the bankruptcy proceedings to maximize recoverable value for stakeholders.

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