Thodex, once among Turkey’s prominent crypto exchanges, experienced an unexpected shutdown in April 2021. Overnight, 400,000 users were left baffled, lacking access to their combined deposits of approximately $2 billion in digital currencies.
The Disappearance of Faruk Fatih Özer
The platform’s founder, Faruk Fatih Özer, made headlines not only for the company’s collapse but for his subsequent vanishing act. Escaping to Albania, he evaded justice until an Interpol red notice in August 2022 culminated in his arrest.
By April 2023, the narrative took another turn. Özer found himself deported back to Turkey, and promptly detained upon landing. He faced many charges, from establishing a crime-focused organization fraud through digital banking systems to laundering crime-tied assets.
As details emerged, Özer wasn’t the only one under scrutiny. His siblings, Serap and Güven Özer and four top-tier employees were incarcerated. The expansive inquiry led to the detainment of 83 individuals in total.
The subsequent trial was nothing short of colossal, spotlighting 21 defendants. They collectively risked an astonishing 40,564 years behind bars.
A Surprising Thodex Plot Twist With Severe Consequences
However, unveiled on a fateful Thursday, the Anatolian 9th Heavy Penal Court’s decision held surprises. Of the accused, 16 were acquitted, while evidence scarcity saw four of the imprisoned being freed. The remaining faced diverse imprisonment lengths contingent on their crimes.
In addition, Faruk, Serap, and Guven will have to cough up a fine of 135 million liras. That equals $5 million, a vast sum they may never be able to piece together.
The Thodex debacle sent shockwaves across Turkey, a nation where cryptocurrency has become a refuge against towering inflation and the lira’s plunging value. It is a stark reminder of the complexities and potential pitfalls in the rapidly evolving world of digital currencies. Moreover, it is a reminder not to store crypto assets on centralized platforms where you do not control the private key.
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