11,000-Year Prison Sentence for Founder of Collapsed Turkish Crypto Exchange 

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  • The founder of crypto exchange Thodex has been sentenced to 11,196 years in prison.
  • The estimated losses from the crash of the exchange are believed to be around US$2 billion.
  • “I wouldn’t have acted so amateurishly if this were a criminal organization,” said Faruk Fatih Ozer who appeared unrepentant.

The founder of crypto exchange Thodex, Faruk Fatih Ozer, has been sentenced to 11,196 years in prison by a Turkish court for fraud. The Turkish crypto exchange crashed in 2021 causing several investors to lose millions.

Ozer had gone into hiding after this monumental crash and fled to Albania. However, he was later caught by Interpol and extradited to Turkey. At the time of the verdict, Ozer was already in prison for tax fraud and had been under custody since July of this year.

Ozer and two of his siblings were found guilty by the Turkish government of aggravated fraud, leading a criminal organization, and money laundering. Several other senior members of the exchange also received prison terms, depending on their involvement. Apart from the jail sentences, a fine of US$5 million was also imposed on the culprits.

Following the Thodex crash, investors were said to have suffered heavily but the exact amount of the losses was not gauged. Turkish media believe that the losses could have been in billions. One particular news outlet estimated a loss of US$2 billion. However, Chainalysis reported the value of assets lost at US$2.6 billion.

Interestingly, Ozer seemed unrepentant, evidenced by his cold and callous responses following the verdict. “I am smart enough to lead any institution on Earth,” Ozer was quoted saying. “That is evident in this company I established at the age of 22. I wouldn’t have acted so amateurishly if this were a criminal organization.”

Thodex was one of the first global crypto exchanges in Turkey, and through its tenure, it grew to be one of the most successful exchanges in the country. The exchange was founded in 2017 and ran until April 2021. At the time of folding, the exchange had 391,000 users. The collapse of the exchange also prompted Turkey to set in motion new regulations to monitor digital assets in the country.