The founder and CEO of collapsed Turkish crypto exchange Thodex, Faruk Fatih Özer, has been sentenced to 11,000 years in prison on several charges, including fraud, local media Anadolu Agency reported on 7 September.
According to the state-run publication, Özer and his two siblings received a jail sentence of 11,196 years, 10 months, and 15 days alongside a $5 million fine for their involvement in the collapse of Turkish crypto exchange Thodex in 2021. The court charged Faruk, his brother Güven, and his sister Serap with “establishing, managing and being a member of an organization”, “qualified fraud”, and “laundering the value of assets resulting from crime”.
Thodex was one of the largest crypto exchanges in Türkiye before it abruptly halted its services without a prior notice in April 2021, leaving more than 400,000 users without access to their deposits. At the time, around 83 people were detained by Turkish police as part of their investigation into the collapse of Thodex, including Özer’s siblings and four other senior employees.
The former CEO of Thodex fled the country with crypto assets worth around $2 billion, but was detained in Albania a year later after Interpol issued a Red Notice for his arrest. In April 2023 Özer was extradited back to Türkiye, where he was detained by police upon his arrival on seven charges, including fraud and money laundering.
During the trial against Thodex there were 21 defendants, 16 of which were acquitted due to lack of evidence, while the rest received a combined sentence of 40,564 years in prison. Özer claimed in court that he and his family were facing injustice, and that Thodex was simply a crypto company that went bankrupt, noting that if he had established a criminal organization he would “not act so amateurishly”.