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Crypto Exchange Founder Sentenced to 11,196 Years in Jail for Aggravated Fraud and Money Laundering

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In a stunning turn of events, the founder and CEO of the now-defunct crypto exchange Thodex, Faruk Fatih Özer, has been sentenced to an unprecedented 11,196 years in prison. The court in Istanbul found Özer guilty of aggravated fraud, money laundering, and organized crime. Özer’s sister and brother also received the same monumental jail term. This sentencing comes after Thodex collapsed in April 2021, with Özer initially assuring investors that their money was safe before he fled. The total amount of losses incurred by Thodex’s collapse is still uncertain, with estimates ranging from millions to billions of dollars. These long prison sentences, though controversial, have become increasingly common in Turkey since the country abolished the death penalty in 2004. Despite the severity of the sentence, with good behavior, Özer may be released in five or six thousand years.

Background of the Case

Faruk Fatih Özer’s role in the crypto exchange Thodex

Faruk Fatih Özer was the founder and CEO of Thodex, a crypto exchange that gained popularity in Turkey during a period of rapid inflation. Özer played a key role in establishing Thodex at a young age and became a well-known figure in the financial industry.

Rapid inflation in Turkey leads to increased interest in crypto

During the time when Thodex was thriving, Turkey experienced significant inflation, causing people to view cryptocurrencies as a more stable and secure financial option. The fluctuating value of the Turkish lira prompted individuals to turn to crypto, especially for their savings.

Thodex’s collapse and initial claims of investors’ money being safe

In April 2021, Thodex suddenly collapsed, leaving investors in a state of panic. Initially, Özer assured investors that their money was safe. However, it became evident that this was not the case when Özer fled the country shortly after Thodex’s collapse.

Arrest of Thodex employees and seizure of the company’s computers

In the aftermath of Thodex’s collapse, Turkish authorities took swift action to investigate the situation. Dozens of Thodex employees were arrested, and the company’s computers were seized as evidence to uncover the extent of the fraud that had occurred.

Interpol’s red notice and Özer’s extradition

Interpol issued a red notice for Özer, indicating that he was wanted for arrest and extradition. Özer was eventually found in Albania and extradited back to Turkey to face trial for his involvement in the Thodex collapse.

The Sentencing and Charges

Özer’s sentencing to 11,196 years in prison

Following a trial in Istanbul, Faruk Fatih Özer was sentenced to a staggering 11,196 years in prison. This sentence reflects the seriousness and scale of the crimes he was found guilty of committing.

Charges of aggravated fraud, money laundering, and organized crime

Özer faced several charges, including aggravated fraud, money laundering, and organized crime. These charges reflect the complexity and severity of the criminal activities he was involved in through his role at Thodex.

The involvement of Özer’s sister and brother in the crimes

Özer’s sister, Serap, and brother, Guven, were also found guilty in connection with the crimes committed at Thodex. Both received the same prison sentence as Özer, highlighting their active participation in the illegal activities.

Prosecutors sought a longer sentence

Prosecutors had originally sought an even longer sentence of 40,562 years for Özer. This indicates the gravity of the crimes committed and the need to set a strong example with this case.

Özer’s Statement to the Court

Özer’s claim of intelligence and ability to lead institutions

During his trial, Özer boldly claimed that he possessed the intelligence and capability to lead any institution on Earth. He used the establishment of Thodex at a young age as evidence of his leadership qualities and dismissed the notion that he was part of a criminal organization.

The establishment of Thodex at a young age

Özer highlighted the fact that he founded Thodex at the age of 22, emphasizing his entrepreneurial skills and ability to navigate the complex world of cryptocurrencies. However, this argument fails to absolve him of the criminal activities that occurred under his leadership.

Denial of being part of a criminal organization

Özer vehemently denied being part of a criminal organization, asserting that his actions were not that of a seasoned criminal. However, the overwhelming evidence against him and his subsequent lengthy prison sentence contradict his claims.

Amount of Money Lost

Uncertainty surrounding the total amount lost in Thodex’s collapse

There is considerable uncertainty regarding the exact amount of money lost in the collapse of Thodex. The chaotic nature of the situation, coupled with the complexity of cryptocurrency transactions, makes it challenging to determine an accurate figure.

Prosecutors’ identification of 356 million liras in losses

During the trial, prosecutors identified 356 million liras ($43 million in 2021) as the amount lost by investors in the Thodex collapse. This figure provides some insight into the magnitude of the financial damage caused by Özer’s actions.

Estimates ranging from $2 billion to $2.5 billion

Estimates of the total value lost in Thodex’s collapse vary significantly, with figures ranging from $2 billion to $2.5 billion. These higher estimates highlight the potential scale of the fraud and the devastating impact it had on investors.

Link to the majority of rug pulls in 2021

The collapse of Thodex and the subsequent loss of funds can be attributed to one of the largest rug pulls in 2021. Rug pulls refer to fraudulent activities in which cryptocurrency developers or leaders abandon their projects, taking investors’ funds with them.

Prison Sentences in Turkey

Long prison sentences as a common occurrence in Turkey

Turkey has a history of imposing lengthy prison sentences, particularly for severe crimes such as fraud and organized crime. Özer’s 11,196-year sentence is not an isolated incident but rather consistent with the country’s approach to punishing individuals involved in significant criminal activities.

The abolition of the death penalty in 2004

The abolition of the death penalty in Turkey in 2004 resulted in an increase in the use of long prison sentences for serious crimes. Without the option of capital punishment, the justice system has turned to extended periods of imprisonment as a means of punishment.

The Özer siblings receiving a comparatively lighter sentence

While Özer’s 11,196-year sentence may seem excessively long, it is important to note that prosecutors had initially sought a sentence of 40,562 years for him and his siblings. The fact that they received a comparatively lighter sentence highlights the severity of the crimes committed.

Potential Release Date for Özer

Possibility of Özer’s release with good behavior in 5 or 6 thousand years

In Turkey, individuals serving lengthy prison sentences have the possibility of early release based on good behavior. Given the length of Özer’s sentence, the potential release date could be in approximately 5 or 6 thousand years, assuming he demonstrates exemplary conduct while in prison.


The case of Faruk Fatih Özer and the collapse of Thodex highlights the dangers and vulnerabilities within the cryptocurrency industry. It serves as a cautionary tale for investors, emphasizing the need for thorough research and due diligence when engaging in crypto transactions. Özer’s sentencing to over 11,000 years in prison sends a strong message about the consequences of fraudulent activities in the crypto world. As Turkey continues to grapple with the aftermath of Thodex’s collapse, it is essential to implement stricter regulations and oversight to prevent similar incidents in the future.