Thodex Founder Given Seven-month Prison Term For Tax Offenses

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  • Thodex founder, Faruk Fetih Özer, has received a seven-month jail sentence for failing to submit documents to the Tax Inspection Board
  • Özer faced a five-year term for smuggling but beat that charge
  • Özer is also accused of defrauding 400,000 Thodex customers which carries a life term

The founder of the Turkish crypto exchange Thodex has been given a seven-month jail sentence for failing to submit necessary documents to the Tax Inspection Board. Faruk Fetih Özer, who was arrested in Albania last year after fleeing Turkey with the exchange’s funds, faces much tougher sanctions due to the charges that led to his arrest, and this initial sentence will not fill him with confidence. Turkish prosecutors had sought a jail sentence of up to five years on charges of “smuggling,” but Özer beat this charge.

Özer Beats Bigger Charge

Özer was extradited from Albania back to Turkey in April to face charges connected to his decision to flee the country with $2 billion of investors’ assets in 2021 when the Thodex platform collapsed. The tax man managed to get his allegations in first, however, with Özer maintaining his innocence during the hearing at the Anatolian 17th Criminal Court of First Instance.

The founder claimed he was not the company’s leader at the time of the alleged crime, arguing that a previously appointed trustee had prevented him from providing the requested records. This is known as the ‘Craig Wright’ defense: when all the evidence points to you, blame someone else and offer no proof. While Özer defeated the smuggling charge he will spend the rest of the year in prison over the documentation charge.

Worse to Come for Thodex Founder

Much worse faces Özer when he gets out, however. He faces potential life imprisonment over the charge of defrauding the 400,000 Thodex customers who were unable to withdraw their funds when he absconded, a series of crimes which, rather hilariously, bring a maximum penalty of 40,000 years.

Unsurprisingly Özer has vehemently denied all charges, claiming he was framed and believes some of his former employees, including two of his siblings, were “unlawfully” imprisoned.