Cryptocurrency exchange owner sentenced to 11,196 years in prison

Former head of cryptocurrency exchange Thodex, Faruk Fatih Ozerwas sentenced to an intolerable sentence of 11,196 years in prison after being found guilty of crimes including fraud, forming a criminal organization and money laundering. The conviction was handed down last Thursday by a court in Istanbul, Turkey.

Ozer, who founded Thodex brokerage in 2017 after dropping out of high school and fled to Albania in 2021 following the company’s financial collapse, was convicted along with his two brothers.

During his final statement, Ozer remained boldly defiant. “I could lead any institution in the world, as evidenced by the company I founded at the age of 22”he said in court, refuting allegations that he was leading a criminal organization.

Turkish cryptocurrency queen sentenced to 11,196 years in prison

Thodex was one of the biggest brokers in Türkiye, but the company suddenly blocked the assets of more than 390,000 users, when the CEO of the brokerage simply disappeared due to a problem with his computer.

The problem started in 2021, when the exchange announced that it would receive external investment to improve its services and that this would paralyze negotiations and transactions for five working days.

Customers started to worry and wonder what was going on, but Faruk Fatih Ozer, the company’s founder and CEO, stopped answering emails and eventually disappeared.

The CEO even spoke up some time later, promising to pay all investors and return to Turkey to “suffer justice for what he has done”.

Almost a year and a half later, the founder of cryptocurrency exchange Thodex was arrested in Albania. According to local sources, biometric tests confirmed the CEO’s identity. After that, ministers from both countries spoke and started a process to extradite the suspect to his home country.

In addition to the CEO, police in Turkey have arrested 62 people associated with Thodex, following thousands of criminal complaints filed by citizens claiming they had been scammed by the platform.

$2.6 billion scam

The exact magnitude of the financial losses investors will face following the collapse of Thodex is still a matter of debate.

While the official indictment estimates a loss of 356 million lira (64 million reais), local media sources cite figures of up to $2 billion. An independent analysis by Chainalysis estimates the total value of cryptocurrencies lost in the incident at approximately $2.6 billion.

Prosecutors in the case have asked that the Turkish cryptocurrency queen be sentenced to 40,562 years in prison for money laundering, fraud and setting up a criminal organization.

After an extensive legal process, Ozer was returned to Turkey from Albania in early 2023. The conviction serves as a strong warning to cryptocurrency exchange operators and other actors in the country’s financial sector.

Source: Live Coins