Cryptocurrency exchange fraud ends in prison sentence of 11,000 years

Cryptocurrency exchange fraud ends in prison sentence of 11,000 years

The Turkish founder of the Thodex exchange will spend the rest of his life behind bars

Faruk Fatih Özer, former CEO of Turkish crypto exchange Thodex, was sentenced by a Turkish court to 11,196 years after he was charged with “establishing, managing and being a member of an organization,” “qualified fraud” and “laundering of property values.”

Özer and his two siblings were sentenced to the same jail term by the Anatolian 9th High Criminal Court. They were each fined $5 million, as state-run news agency Anadolu Agency reported.

Thodex was one of the country’s largest crypto exchanges before suddenly failing in 2021. Services were suspended without warning, and Özer fled the country with $2 billion in user assets in cryptocurrency. Özer previously denied all claims of a possible exit scam.

The fugitive was located in Albania in August 2022, where he was already incarcerated, and extradited to Turkey in April on fraud and money laundering accusations. Özer had been serving a sentence for failure to file taxes since July.

Özer claimed that he and his family were facing an injustice, saying there were no criminal intentions and that Thodex was just a crypto company that went bankrupt.

His translated court statement read, “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 two years.”

Five of the 21 defendants in the case against Thodex observed the trial in person. Sixteen were acquitted of “qualified fraud” due to lack of evidence, with four ordered to be released. The rest received varying sentences based on their level of involvement.

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