Thousands of Years in Prison: Thodex Turkish Crypto Exchange Founder Gets Long Sentence

Faruk Fatih Özer, the former Chief Executive of collapsed Turkey-based cryptocurrency exchange Thodex, has reportedly been sentenced to 11,196 years in prison on Thursday (September 7, 2023).

Stealing around $2 billion from his clients led to the CEO of one of Turkey’s biggest virtual currency exchanges Thodex, being sentenced to 11,196 years, ten months and 15 days behind bars.

To get an idea of how long this would be, it is worth noting that the most recent ice age had come to an end around 11,000 years back. And paper was invented only around 1950 years ago.

Notably, Thodex had been one of Turkey‘s most prominent digital currency trading platforms just prior to it abruptly going offline back in April 2021 and then Özer suddenly went missing.

Over 400,000 clients had reportedly been left without access to their funds: (a total of about $2 billion in virtual currencies). Özer had been suspected of having left Turkey and when Interpol put out a red notice for the offender, he was apprehended in Albania this past year.

The notice claimed Özer had conducted fraudulent activities right from the start and that Thodex was basically operating as a type of criminal organization.

The demise of Thodex has now sent more shockwaves across Turkey and the wider crypto markets. During the past few years, Turkey has experienced unprecedented levels of inflation with the Turkish Lira now trading at record lows against the USD. Due to these reasons (among others), crypto had been frequently used by locals to protect their hard-earned savings from the extremely high levels of (hyper)inflation and the continuous devaluation of the lira (the national fiat currency).

Announcing the unprecedented verdict this past Thursday, the court in Istanbul had officially sentenced Özer on a number of charges such as committing fraud, serving as the lead of a criminal organization, and engaging in money laundering. His siblings, who may have been accomplices, have also been sentenced to serve time in prison.

An 11,000+ prison term might seem a bit out of the ordinary to many, however, they’re quite a standard practice in countries like Turkey.

Back in 2016, Fethullah Gülen, who was serving as the leader of a social/religious movement and challenger to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, had received an 1,900 year prison sentence after attempting to put together a failed coup.

Around 6 years after that, cult leader Adnan Oktar, who had been convicted of many different crimes, such as sexual assault, reportedly received over 8,600 years in prison.

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