Faruk Fatih Özer, the founder of the collapsed Turkish crypto exchange Thodex, his sister Serap Özer and his brother Güven Özer have been sentenced to 11,196 years, 10 months and 15 days in prison, according to local media. A judicial fine of 135 million liras ($5 million approx.) was also imposed.
Thodex was one of Turkey’s largest crypto exchanges before it suddenly went offline in April 2021 and Özer went missing. Over 400,000 members were left in the dark without access to deposits of $2 billion in cryptocurrencies. Özer had fled to Albania but was arrested in August 2022 after an Interpol red notice against him.
By April 2023, Özer was extradited to Turkey, and detained by police upon arrival on seven charges, including establishing and managing an organization with the purpose of committing a crime, being a member of an organization, fraud by using information systems as a tool of banks or credit institutions, fraud of merchants or company executives and cooperative managers, and laundering the value of assets resulting from crime.
When the case came to light, Özer’s brother, sister and four other senior employees were jailed and at least 83 people were detained as part of the investigation. The eventual trial saw 21 defendants facing up to 40,564 years in prison.
The Anatolian 9th Heavy Penal Court announced the verdict on Thursday, acquitting 16 of the 21 defendants and releasing four of the seven jailed due to a lack of evidence. Other defendants were given varying degrees of imprisonment for various crimes.
Edited by Omkar Godbole.