The founder of the collapsed Turkish crypto exchange Thodex, Faruk Fatih Özer, had been sentenced to 11,196 years, 10 months, and 15 days in prison with his sister Serap Özer and his brother Güven Özer, as per a local report. 135 million liras ($5 million, approx.) have also been fined to them.
In April 2021, Thodex abruptly went offline and Özer disappeared, but before this, Thodex was Turkey’s largest crypto exchange. More than 400,000 members were kept in dark as they were unable to access $2 billion of cryptocurrency deposits.
Özer had fled to Albania, but after Interpol issued red notice against him, and he got arrested in August 2022. Özer came back to Turkey after being extradited in April 2023, and on his landing, he was arrested by the police.
He was charged with seven offenses, including establishing and managing an organization to commit a crime, membership in an organization, fraud involving the use of a banks or credit institution’s information system, fraud against merchants or company executives and cooperative managers, and laundering the value of assets resulting from crime.
Özer’s brother, sister, and four other senior employees were imprisoned, and a minimum of 83 people were detained for the investigation upon learning of the incident. 21 defendants face up to 40,564 years in prison in the eventual trial.
On Thursday, the Anatolian 9th Heavy Penal Court announced the verdict, in which 16 people were cleared out of 21 defendants, and four of the seven who were imprisoned due to a lack of evidence were released. Other defendants received sentences of varying degrees of imprisonment for various offenses.