Faruk Fetih Özer, the founder of Thodex, a once-prominent Turkish cryptocurrency exchange, has been sentenced to seven months and 15 days in jail for his failure to submit necessary documents to the Tax Inspection Board. However, Özer’s legal troubles don’t end there, as he also faces fraud charges related to the alleged misappropriation of over $2 billion in clients’ funds when Thodex collapsed in 2021. While Özer initially fled Turkey after the incident, he was apprehended in Albania last year and is now awaiting further legal proceedings.
The Anatolian 17th Criminal Court of First Instance heard Özer’s case, initially handing down a sentence of one and a half years imprisonment. However, the punishment was later reduced considering factors such as Özer’s behavior, social relations, and potential impact on his future. Additionally, the court postponed the verdict’s announcement and the order’s implementation.
Özer continues to maintain his innocence, claiming that he was not leading the company at the time of the alleged crime. He argues that a previously appointed trustee prevented him from providing the requested records. The legal process against Özer began in October 2021 when Turkish authorities demanded specific documents related to his activities at Thodex. Unfortunately, Özer failed to comply within the prescribed legal timeframe.
Apart from the aforementioned offense, Özer faces several other accusations that could result in a life sentence. Investors who suffered losses and prosecutors argue that Özer played a central role in Thodex’s collapse in the spring of 2021, leading to the platform ceasing its trading services. As a result, approximately 400,000 customers were unable to withdraw their funds, while Özer allegedly left the country with over $2 billion of users’ money.
After more than a year on the run, Özer was detained in Albania in August 2022. Following negotiations between Albanian and Turkish officials, he was deported and returned to Turkey in April. If found guilty of all charges, Özer could potentially face an astonishing 40,000 years in prison.
In a recent statement, the 29-year-old entrepreneur denied all accusations, claiming he was being framed. Özer also expressed his belief that some of his former employees, including two of his siblings, were unjustly imprisoned.
The legal saga surrounding Faruk Fetih Özer and the Thodex collapse serves as a stark reminder of the risks and challenges associated with the cryptocurrency industry. As the legal proceedings continue, investors and observers await the final verdict and the potential consequences for those affected by Thodex’s downfall.