Faruk Fatih Ozer, on Thursday, September 7, was sentenced by an Istanbul court for crimes including fraud and money laundering. This is the aftermath of the collapse of Turkey’s Thodex stock exchange.
Ozer and his immediate family convicted
An Istanbul court has sentenced Faruk Fatih Ozer, who ran the Thodex exchange from its inception until its collapse in 2021, and his two brothers to similar prison terms for crimes including aggravated fraud, money laundering and leading a criminal organization. The information was revealed by Bloomberg news agency.
Ozer disappeared when Thodex, once one of Turkey’s largest stock exchanges, suddenly halted trading in April 2021 for unexplained reasons. This caused more than 400,000 users to lose their funds. Ozer then fled to Albania, from which he in turn was extradited back to Turkey in the ongoing year.
Massive scam and request for even higher punishment
In 2021, Turkish police reported the beginnings of an investigation that resulted in the detention of as many as 62 people.
The prosecutor’s April 2022 indictment estimated that the total losses on the exchange were around $24 million, but Chainalysis analysts calculated that the actual value of the funds lost by users, could have been as high as $2.52 billion. This value would account for 90% of the total amount of losses suffered worldwide in 2021.
The Turkish prosecutor asked for prison sentences of up to 40,564 years for 21 people linked to the Thodex exchange. This came about a year after its closure and the disappearance of its chairman.
Serious charges and promise of compensation
The less than 30-year-old chairman, Faruk Fatih Ozer, was seen in footage from the Istanbul airport shortly after the exchange closed. Despite this, Turkish police have been unable to locate him. Interpol, meanwhile, issued a red notice after him.
Thodex was part of Turkey’s cryptocurrency boom, which attracted investors looking to protect their savings from inflation and a weakening currency.
Even before he was apprehended, Ozer issued a statement in which he said he would return the funds to investors and would also return to Turkey himself. The statement was published from an unknown location. Nevertheless, all indications are that the former CEO of Thodex had been hiding all along in Tirana, Albania. The chance to compensate investors for their losses will not be given to him.