Faruk Fatih Ozer, the individual behind the establishment of Thodex, a leading cryptocurrency exchange in Turkey, has been sentenced to a staggering 11,196 years in prison on charges of fraud among other offenses, as reported by Bloomberg.
The accusations against Ozer spanned a range of offenses, encapsulating fraud, spearheading a criminal group, and engaging in money laundering activities.
Additionally, Ozer’s two siblings have been met with comparable lengthy prison sentences due to their association with crimes related to Thodex.
Ozer Fled Country After Crypto Exchange Halted
Thodex, once celebrated as a major cryptocurrency exchange in Turkey, unexpectedly shut down its trading activities in April 2021.
This sudden closure plunged over 400,000 users into financial chaos, as they found themselves unable to access their investments.
Ozer, the key figure steering the exchange, vanished without a trace soon after, with reports suggesting he had escaped to Albania.
This significant betrayal, often referred to as a “rug pull” within the crypto circles, quickly spurred Turkish officials into action.
Early information suggested that 62 people were taken into custody as part of the preliminary probe into the dealings of the exchange.
Though the prosecutor’s first assessment in April 2022 placed the total losses at approximately $24 million, a deeper analysis by the blockchain research company, Chainalysis, projected a significantly graver scenario. Their estimate indicated losses reaching a jaw-dropping $2.52 billion.
This amount accounts for a massive 90% of the worldwide losses attributed to analogous scams in the year 2021.
Ozer was Extradited to Turkey this Year
Having established Thodex in 2017, Faruk Fatih Ozer managed to elude capture for a while but was eventually arrested in Albania by August 2022.
After enduring a protracted legal journey, he was extradited to Turkey by April the next year.
The Thodex debacle has cast a significant pall over the Turkish crypto environment, resulting in intensified oversight of crypto enterprises and exchanges in the nation.
Even though the cryptocurrency domain had been a beacon of hope for many Turks amidst the challenges of rampant inflation and the diminishing value of the Turkish lira, this optimism was severely undermined by the Thodex fiasco.
The full magnitude of the financial damage faced by cryptocurrency investors due to this unparalleled event remains uncertain.