Crypto Exchange Thodex Founder Sentenced to Over 11,000 Years Amid Fraud Allegations
In a decision by the Anatolian 9th High Criminal Court, Faruk Fatih Özer, the mastermind behind the Turkish cryptocurrency platform Thodex, has been found guilty in a significant fraud case. Alongside Özer, six other individuals were detained, making up a total of 21 individuals implicated in the fraud allegations.
The court's judgment was severe. Özer, together with his siblings, Güven Özer and Serap Özer, received a staggering sentence of 11,190 years and 6 months imprisonment. The charges that led to this lengthy sentence encompassed "establishing, directing, and participating in a criminal organization," "engaging in sophisticated fraud," and "money laundering."
In addition to this, the court mandated an extra sentence of 6 years, 4 months, and 15 days for each sibling. They were also slapped with a hefty fine of 135 million lira for "committing fraud using digital systems." In total, the cumulative sentence for each of the Özer siblings stands at 11,196 years, 10 months, and 15 days.
Thodex, which was once a beacon in Turkey's cryptocurrency landscape, took an unexpected turn in 2021 when it suddenly halted all operations. This abrupt closure left numerous users in a quandary, unable to access their digital assets, which were estimated to be worth around $2 billion.
The situation became murkier when Özer departed Turkey post the shutdown, sparking rumors of a potential exit scam. Despite the swirling allegations, Özer remained steadfast in his denials.
In the courtroom, Özer presented a defense centered on the premise that Thodex was simply a business venture that unfortunately went under. He asserted, "I possess the acumen to oversee any global institution. My capabilities are evident from the enterprise I initiated at a mere age of 22. Had I intended to create a criminal syndicate, my actions would have been far more sophisticated."
The Anadolu Chief Public Prosecutor's Office, in its indictment, shed light on the deceptive practices of the Thodex platform. The document revealed that a sum equivalent to 253 million 714 thousand 909 lira in cryptocurrency was moved from three distinct accounts under the control of Özer. Intriguingly, a large chunk of these digital assets found their way to cryptocurrency wallets based in Malta.
The saga took another twist when Özer was captured in Albania on August 30, 2022. Following legal procedures, he was extradited to Turkey by April 20, 2023, and by April 23, he was under detention at the Anadolu Justice Palace.
This case has garnered extensive coverage from global media powerhouses like Cointelegraph and Fortune. Their reports underscore the pivotal nature of the Thodex case in the realm of cryptocurrency and highlight the broader ramifications it holds for the regulation of digital assets and safeguarding investor interests.
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