Fatih Özer, the founder and CEO of failed Turkish crypto exchange, Thodex has been sentenced to more than 11,000 years in prison for crimes relating to fraud. According to a Bloomberg report, he was sentenced to 11,196 years imprisonment.
Per the report, Özer was sentenced alongside his brother Güven Özer and sister Serap Özer. The three siblings were found guilty of aggravated fraud, leading a criminal organization, and money laundering and consequently handed similar-length jail terms.
In addition, they were also found guilty of organizing and managing criminal organizations and money laundering. Interestingly, Fatih maintained that he was innocent despite the weight of his court sentence.
In a statement at court, he bragged about starting the company at the age of 22 while defending his integrity stating that he is not a criminal.
“I am smart enough to lead any institution on Earth,” “That is evident in this company I established at the age of 22. I wouldn’t have acted so amateurishly if this were a criminal organization,” Fatih said.
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In addition to the sentence, the court also imposed a fine of 135 million Turkish liras (equivalent to $5 million) on the defendants. Before its collapse, Thodex was one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in Turkey boasting about 400,000 users.
In April 2021, the exchange went offline and the aforementioned number of users were locked out of their accounts and unable to withdraw their combined funds of about $2 billion.
Following the collapse, Fatih escaped from the country and fled to Albania. However, he was arrested in August 2022 and subsequently deported back to Turkey in April 2023.
Defendants facing up to 40,564 years in prison
When the case started, Fatih’s siblings as well as four other senior employees were jailed. As part of the investigation, at least 83 people were detained. A total of 21 defendants were potentially facing a combined 40,564 years in prison.
Four of the 21 defendants who had previously been imprisoned were released due to a lack of evidence, while 16 of the defendants were found not guilty. The remaining individuals received varied prison sentences.
With this sentence, Fatih Özer now marks his name among the individuals with the longest prison sentence. He was given over 460 life sentences.
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