Thodex Founder's Epic Legal Battle

Martin Walker
Sep 8, 2023 at 12:21 pm

The Turkish court has issued an astonishingly lengthy prison sentence of 11,196 years to Faruk Fatih Özer, the former CEO of Thodex, a Turkish cryptocurrency exchange. Özer, along with his two siblings, has been handed this monumental prison term of 11,196 years, 10 months, and 15 days, accompanied by a substantial $5-million fine, as reported by the Turkish state-run news agency Anadolu Agency. The charges they face include a wide range of offenses, such as "establishing, managing, and being part of an organization," "serious fraud," and "money laundering."

Thodex, once a prominent digital asset trading platform in Turkey, experienced an unexpected and tumultuous collapse in 2021, abruptly ceasing its services, which left users in shock and dismay. The exchange's founder, Özer, made a hasty exit from the country, taking with him an astounding $2 billion worth of cryptocurrency, which rightfully belonged to its users. During this chaotic period, Özer vehemently denied any allegations of orchestrating an exit scam.

The fugitive founder was eventually apprehended in Albania in August 2022, where he was already serving a prison sentence. In April 2023, Özer was extradited to Turkey, where he now faces a slew of charges, including fraud and money laundering. Prior to this, he had been behind bars for failing to provide the necessary tax documents since July. The most recent conviction, however, pertains to defrauding Thodex's customers.

During the court proceedings, the cryptocurrency exchange's founder passionately argued that he and his family were victims of a grave injustice. He strongly maintained that Thodex was merely a cryptocurrency company that had fallen victim to bankruptcy, devoid of any criminal intent. A rough translation of Özer's court statement through Google Translate reads:

"I possess the intelligence required to manage any institution worldwide, as evidenced by founding a company at the tender age of 22. If I had indeed set out to establish a criminal organization, I would not have engaged in such a hasty and unprofessional manner. It is glaringly apparent that the individuals involved in this case have been enduring a prolonged period of suffering, spanning over two years."

The protracted legal proceedings against Thodex involved 21 defendants, with five of them physically present in court. The court acquitted 16 defendants of "serious fraud" due to insufficient evidence and ordered the release of four defendants. Other defendants received varying prison sentences based on their level of involvement in the fraudulent activities.

In summary, the case of Faruk Fatih Özer and Thodex is an intricate and multifaceted legal saga that has captured significant attention due to its unprecedented scale and complexity.

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