- Faruk Fatir Özer, CEO of Turkish crypto exchange Thodex, was sentenced to 11,000 years over a $2 billion scam.
- Faruk Fatir Özer and his two siblings who ran the company with him, Serap Özer and Güven Özer, were also sentenced to prison.
Thodex CEO Sentenced to 11,000 Years in Prison
The former CEO of Turkish exchange, Thodex, has been sentenced to 11,196 years in a Turkish court on charges of “establishing, managing and being a member of an organization, to commit a crime,” “qualified fraud,” and “laundering of property values.”
Faruk Fatir Özer and his two siblings were sentenced at the Anatolian 9th High Criminal Court. The trio was sentenced to 11,196 years, 10 months, and 15 days with a $5million fine.
He was sentenced to prison alongside his siblings and other defendants with varying degrees of imprisonment.
Over 83 people, including senior employees of the exchange, were detained during the case investigation process.
At the Anatolian 9th Heavy Penal Court, 16 21 jailed defendants were acquitted, while four were released due to lack of evidence.
The Collapse of Turkish Crypto Exchange, Thodex
Thodex was one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in Turkey before it suddenly collapsed in 2021.
The crypto exchange suddenly halted services without prior notice. The CEO of the exchange insisted that the sudden collapse of the exchange, leaving 400,000 users without access to their assets, was not an exit scam. Instead, he claimed that the pause on operations of the exchange was due to an external investment that required a five-day hiatus. Subsequently, Faruk Özer claimed that the exchange paused trading because of a cyber attack. He promised to reimburse investors and assured customers of the safety of their funds.
Faruk Fatir Özer fled to Albania immediately after the exchange imploded, carting away $2 billion worth of customers’ crypto assets.
In 2022, Faruk Özer was arrested in Albania after Interpol issued a red notice. He was detained in Albania where he served a jail sentence until he was extradited to Turkey in April 2023.
In Turkey, he was detained by Turkish police on arrival. Faruk Özer was charged with seven counts, including running a criminal organization, being a member of an organization to commit a crime, fraud by using information systems as a tool of banks or credit institutions, fraud of merchants or company executives and cooperative managers, and laundering the value of assets resulting from crime.
In July, he was sentenced to seven months for failure to submit tax documents.
During court hearings, the CEO of the collapsed Turkish crypto exchange claimed that he and his family are facing criminal injustice. He stated that Thodex was a crypto exchange that went bankrupt without criminal intentions.
“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 it is clear that the suspects in the file have been victims for more than 2 years.” He said.