The court also slammed them with a judicial fine of 135 million liras ( approximately $5 million) as the case came to a close.
The long arm of the law may have finally caught up with Faruk Fatih Özer, the founder of the Turkish crypto exchange Thodex which collapsed two years ago. According to a local media report, Faruk, alongside his sister Serap Özer and his brother Güven Özer have all been sentenced to 11,196 years, 10 months, and 15 days in prison. The court also slammed them with a judicial fine of 135 million liras ( approximately $5 million) as the case came to a close.
Thodex Exchange: Sweet Story that Ended Bitter
Thodex was arguably one of the biggest crypto exchanges in Turkey. Founded by Faruk in 2017, the exchange quickly rose to fame and within four years it already had about 400,000 users.
But the quick success of Thodex did not exactly come as a surprise. It was largely because of the urgent need of the Turkish people to use crypto as a hedge against inflation. And then there was also the steep fall of the lira.
By April 2021, however, the exchange suddenly went offline. By this time, customers had already deposited over $2 billion in crypto assets on the platform.
Shortly after, Faruk fled the country and hid in Albania until he was caught in August 2022. That was after Interpol issued a red notice against him.
In April 2023, Faruk Özer arrived back in Turkey and prosecutors immediately established a seven-count charge against him. He was charged with establishing and managing an organization with the intent to commit a crime and laundering the proceeds of crime among others.
In the early stage of the investigations, no less than 83 people, including Faruk’s siblings and some top executives of Thodex, were detained for questioning. However, only 21 defendants remained by the final trial, facing up to 40,564 years in prison.
Now, however, the Anatolian 9th Heavy Penal Court has announced its final verdict. The court acquitted 16 of 21 defendants. And, recall that Faruk, his brother, sister, and four top executives were previously jailed. The court has now released four of them for lack of substantial evidence.