THE LONGEST YARDCrypto Boss Sentenced to 11,196 Years in Prison for Defrauding Investors

Istanbul, Turkey – The former CEO of Thodex, a Turkish cryptocurrency exchange, Faruk Fatih Ozer, has been sentenced to an astonishing 11,196 years in prison for orchestrating a massive fraud that defrauded investors of millions of dollars. Ozer, aged 29, had fled to Albania in 2021, absconding with investor crypto assets when Thodex suddenly collapsed.

After his extradition back to Turkey in June, Ozer faced a court trial where he was found guilty of money laundering, fraud, and involvement in organized crime. In a defiant statement during the trial, Ozer asserted, “I would not have acted so amateurishly if my intent was criminal.” He also claimed his competence, stating, “I am smart enough to lead any institution on Earth.”

The swift proceedings in Istanbul also led to the conviction of Ozer’s siblings, Serap and Guven, on the same charges. Turkish news agencies reported that the defendants were separately sentenced for multiple crimes committed against 2,027 victims, resulting in the staggering cumulative prison terms. Turkey has a history of handing down such extensive prison sentences since the abolition of the death penalty in 2004.

Notably, in 2022, Adnan Oktar, a cult preacher known for his television broadcasts, was sentenced to 8,658 years in prison for fraud and sex crimes, with ten of his followers receiving identical sentences.

While prosecutors had initially requested a 40,562-year prison sentence for Ozer, the final judgment remains a severe penalty by any measure.

The rise of cryptocurrencies in Turkey was driven in part by concerns about the lira’s declining value, which had persisted for over two years. Thodex, founded in 2017, swiftly became one of the nation’s largest virtual currency exchanges. Ozer, as its charismatic leader, achieved national recognition and developed ties with prominent pro-government figures.

However, Thodex’s sudden implosion in April 2021 left investors in turmoil as their assets vanished, and Ozer went into hiding. He was eventually apprehended in Albania last year, following an international warrant issued by Interpol, and subsequently extradited to Turkey.

While initial reports suggested Ozer had fled with assets totaling $2 billion (£1.6 billion), the prosecutor’s indictment estimated the total losses suffered by Thodex investors at 356 million Turkish liras, which was approximately $43 million at the time of the exchange’s collapse. Due to rampant inflation and the lira’s sharp decline in international markets, the same amount is now valued at around $13 million.

Faruk Fatih Ozer’s colossal sentence underscores Turkey’s firm stance against financial misconduct and fraudulent activities within the burgeoning cryptocurrency sector, as authorities continue to address the challenges and complexities posed by digital assets.


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