Faruk Fatih Ozer, founder and CEO of the now defunct cryptocurrency exchange Thodex, was sentenced in Istanbul to 11,196 years in prison. He was found guilty of aggravated fraud, money laundering and organized criminal activity. His sister Serap and brother Güven received the same prison sentence.
Thodex was founded in 2017 and prospered when Turkey’s national currency, the lira, experienced a period of rapid inflation. Residents of the country saw cryptocurrency as a safer option for storing savings. Ozer became a financial celebrity in Turkey. Thodex collapsed in April 2021, Ozer claimed investors’ money was safe and then went into hiding.
Immediately after this, Turkish police arrested dozens of Thodex employees and seized the company’s computers. It turned out that in April 2021, Thodex moved approximately $125 million worth of Bitcoin to the famous American crypto exchange Kraken. Interpol found Ozera in Albania and he was extradited.
The criminal behaved defiantly during the trial: “I am smart enough to lead any institution on Earth. This was evident in this company that I created at the age of 22. If this were a criminal organization, I would not behave so amateurishly.”
The total amount of money lost due to the collapse of Thodex is unknown – estimates vary widely. In court, the prosecutor’s office discovered losses of 356 million liras ($43 million in 2021), according to other sources they reach $2 billion. A Chainalysis study estimates the value of the cryptocurrency lost in Thodex at $2.5 billion: “We should note that approximately 90% The total value lost due to kilim withdrawals in 2021 can be attributed to one fraudulent centralized exchange, Thodex, whose CEO went into hiding shortly after the exchange stopped users withdrawing funds.”
Long prison sentences have become common in Turkey since the country abolished the death penalty in 2004. The crime family was lucky: prosecutors demanded a sentence of 40,562. With good behavior, Ozer will have a chance of early release in 5000-6000 years.
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Source: Tom’s Hardware