Faruk Fatih Özer, the ex-CEO of the Turkish crypto exchange Thodex, has been handed a staggering 11,196-year prison sentence by a Turkish court on charges of fraud, money laundering, and involvement in a criminal organization, as reported by Anadolu Agency.
Thodex's Troubling Saga
The former CEO of Thodex, once one of Turkey's largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Faruk Fatih Özer, has been sentenced to an astounding 11,196 years, 10 months, and 15 days in prison, along with a $5 million fine. This sentence comes from the Anatolian 9th High Criminal Court and applies to Özer and his two siblings.
The Thodex Collapse
Thodex was a major player in Turkey's digital asset trading scene until its sudden and controversial collapse in 2021. The exchange halted all of its services without prior notice, and Özer, the founder, fled the country along with approximately $2 billion worth of users' cryptocurrency holdings. At the time, Özer vehemently denied allegations of orchestrating an exit scam.
The Long Road to Justice
After a series of events, including Özer's detention in Albania in August 2022 and his subsequent extradition to Turkey in April 2023 on charges of fraud and money laundering, the former crypto exchange CEO has now received a hefty prison sentence. Özer had already been in jail since July for failing to submit tax documents.
During the trial, Faruk Fatih Özer asserted that he and his family had been treated unfairly. He maintained that Thodex was simply a crypto company that had gone bankrupt, with no criminal intent behind its operations. Özer's court statement included the following excerpt:
"I am smart enough to manage all institutions in the world. This is evident from the company I founded at the age of 22. If I were to establish a criminal organization, I would not act so amateurishly. What is in question is clear: the suspects in the file have been victims for more than 2 years."
Varied Outcomes for Defendants
This extensive legal battle involving the Thodex crypto exchange saw a total of 21 defendants, with five of them appearing in court in person. Of these, 16 were acquitted of "qualified fraud" due to insufficient evidence, and four were ordered to be released. Other defendants involved in the case received different sentences based on their roles in the fraudulent activities.