Thodex Founder Sentenced to Over 11,000 Years in Prison

Thodex Founder Sentenced to Over 11,000 Years in Prison

The founder of the now-defunct Turkish crypto exchange Thodex, Faruk Fatih Özer, along with his sister Serap Özer and brother Güven Özer, has been reportedly sentenced to an astonishing 11,196 years, 10 months, and 15 days in prison, as reported by local media. Additionally, they have been slapped with a hefty judicial fine of 135 million liras, roughly equivalent to $5 million.

Thodex, once among Turkey's major cryptocurrency exchanges, abruptly ceased operations in April 2021, with its founder Faruk Fatih Özer disappearing at the time. This sudden closure left more than 400,000 users in the dark, unable to access their deposits totaling around $2 billion in cryptocurrencies. 

Özer had managed to escape to Albania, but he was apprehended in August 2022 following an Interpol red notice issued against him.

In April 2023, Özer was brought back to Turkey through extradition and was taken into custody by law enforcement authorities upon his return. He faced a total of seven charges. These charges included allegations of forming and leading an organization with the intent of engaging in criminal activities. He was also accused of being part of such an organization. 

Additionally, he was charged with committing fraud using information systems related to banks or credit institutions, defrauding business owners or corporate leaders, and money laundering involving assets derived from illegal activities.

Following the revelation of the case, Özer's brother, sister, and four other high-ranking employees were arrested, and the investigation led to the detention of at least 83 individuals. The subsequent trial involved 21 defendants who were collectively facing a potential maximum sentence of 40,564 years in prison.

On Thursday, the Anatolian 9th Heavy Penal Court delivered its verdict, acquitting 16 out of the 21 defendants in the case. Also, four of the seven individuals who had been jailed were released due to insufficient evidence. The remaining defendants received sentences of varying lengths for their involvement in various criminal activities.

The Thodex collapse sent shockwaves through Turkey, where cryptocurrencies had been utilized as a safeguard against rampant inflation and the significant devaluation of the national currency, the lira.

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