Turkish Crypto Exchange Thodex Founder Sentenced to 11,196 Years in Prison

Faruk Fatih Özer, the former CEO of the Turkish cryptocurrency exchange Thodex, has been handed a staggering sentence of 11,196 years in prison by the Anatolian 9th High Criminal Court. The court found Özer guilty on charges including “establishing, managing, and being a member of an organization,” “qualified fraud,” and “laundering of property values.”

This verdict, reported by the Turkish state-run news agency Anadolu Agency, also applies to Özer’s two siblings, who were convicted on the same charges and sentenced to the same prison term of 11,196 years, 10 months, and 15 days. Additionally, all three were fined $5 million as part of their punishment.

Faruk Fatih Özer

The trial, which has garnered significant attention, saw Faruk Fatih Özer and his two siblings defend themselves against the allegations. Özer argued that he and his family had experienced injustice and called for it to end. He emphasized that Thodex was merely a company and had gone bankrupt. He stated, “There is no mention of a criminal organization at Thodex. I am intelligent enough to manage any institution worldwide, as evidenced by the company I founded at the age of 22. If I were to establish a criminal organization, I would not act so amateurishly. It’s clear that those considered suspects in this case have been victims for over two years.”

Remarkably, Özer claimed that even while in prison in Albania, he had made payments to the plaintiffs, asserting that this was something a leader of a criminal organization would never do. He suggested that those who thrived on chaos had benefited from the company’s downfall.

In his concluding remarks, Özer quoted lyrics from a Turkish folk music song by Musa Eroğlu, “Yolun Sonu Görünüyor” (The End of the Road Is Visible), as he requested his release and acquittal.

Another defendant, Serap Özer, explained that Thodex was established in 2017, and she joined the company in 2018. She denied working for the company with the intent to commit crimes and stated, “I joined this company for a career, not to commit crimes. If it had been someone else’s company and not my brother’s, I would have still worked there. Working in my brother’s company did not give me any special privileges. There is no criminal organization in this case.”

The court’s decision handed down severe penalties, with Faruk Fatih Özer, Güven Özer, and Serap Özer each receiving 11,196 years, 10 months, and 15 days in prison for charges related to “establishing, managing, and being a member of an organization,” “qualified fraud,” and “laundering of property values.” Additionally, they were fined heavily in a separate judgment for “cyber fraud” activities.

The case involves a complex web of allegations related to Thodex, a cryptocurrency exchange with a tumultuous history. The prosecution argued that Thodex deceived its clients through fraudulent practices, leading to a substantial financial loss estimated at 356 million Turkish lira.

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