For stealing $2 billion in customer assets, the former CEO of the defunct Turkish #cryptocurrency exchange Thodex, Faruk Fatih Özer, received a record-breaking prison sentence.

Bitcoin Founder Receives 11,196 Years in Prison

The Anatolian 9th Heavy Penal Court reportedly sentenced the former CEO of Thodex, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in Turkey, to 11,196 years, 10 months, and 15 days in prison on Thursday, September 7, 2023. The former CEO was accused of fraud, running a criminal organisation, and money laundering.

When the exchange shut down in April 2021, the former CEO is said to have cheated more than 400,000 Turkish consumers out of more than $2 billion in deposits. zer then quickly left the country.

The former CEO of a cryptocurrency exchange had initially been targeted by the prosecution for a 40,562-year prison term. The sentence was eventually reduced, becoming the longest sentence ever for a crypto crime at 11,196 years. According to local media, the former CEO was also subject to a judicial penalties of 135 million Liras.

The purported crime was not solely committed by Faruk Fatih zer. After the inquiry, 83 persons were detained and arrested, and four more senior officials were sentenced to prison.

Following an extensive investigation, zer's sister Serap and brother Guven were also found guilty of the same offences and received the same prison terms, respectively.

Although many people may find these jail terms ridiculous and strange, Turkey has a high prevalence of them due to the country's abolition of the death penalty since 2004. Adnan Oktar, a TV cult preacher, and 10 of his followers received an 8,658-year prison term after being found guilty of fraud and sexual abuse in 2022.

Former Thodex Executive Refutes Criminal Charges

The former crypto leader, who was 29 years old, was apprehended in Albania in August 2022 while incarcerated there after escaping Turkey in April 2021 after his crypto exchange first went under.

Before being detained, Zeer refuted allegations that he purposely fled the country after the Thodex exchange went dark. In response to the accusations, he stated that he was away from home attending business meetings.

zer was detained when Interpol filed a red alert against him, and in April 2023, he was returned to Turkey to face the allegations. Upon their arrival, the cops took him into custody and imprisoned him on seven charges.

Establishing and running an organisation with the intent to commit a crime, fraud using banks' or credit institutions' information systems as a tool, membership in an organisation, fraud against business executives and cooperative managers, and laundering the value of stolen assets were a few of the charges.

The court held that Thodex, the cryptocurrency exchange, was a criminal enterprise from the start, and that zer had fraudulent purposes from the start.

Zeer, however, refuted these accusations against him and stated that Thodex was only a cryptocurrency business that failed in 2021 and had no fraudulent motive. He also testified before the court that if he had been looking to commit a crime, he would not have behaved so clumsily because he was quite intelligent.