A disgraced Turkish crypto Kingpin, Faruk Fatih Ozer, who had fled to Albania, along with his two brothers, have each received astonishing sentences of 11,196 years in prison, as reported by the Anadolu state news agency on Friday.
The prosecution had sought a jaw-dropping 40,562-year prison term for Thodex CEO Faruk Fatih Ozer, aged 29, on charges of money laundering, fraud, and the establishment of a criminal organization.
In a surprising twist, Ozer was quoted by Anadolu as saying to the court, “If I were to establish a criminal organization, I would not have acted so amateurishly.”
This verdict was delivered late Thursday following a brief trial, according to Turkish media reports, and marks another instance of Turkey’s inclination towards imposing massive prison sentences, a trend that gained momentum after the country abolished the death penalty in 2004, partly to facilitate its quest to join the European Union.
Initially, Ozer was reported to have fled Turkey in April 2021, allegedly absconding with $2 billion in investor assets.
However, it’s worth noting that this astronomical figure has been the subject of debate and dispute.
Prosecutors alleged that Ozer transferred 250 million Turkish liras (equivalent to approximately $30 million at the time) from user assets to three undisclosed accounts when he left Turkey in April 2021, with a significant portion of these funds eventually finding their way into a bank in Malta.
According to the indictment, the Ozer brothers were responsible for causing 356 million Turkish liras in damages to their clients.
This case garnered substantial local attention, coinciding with a period of heightened interest in cryptocurrencies in Turkey, a trend that has since waned due to stricter government regulations.
Turkish citizens had turned to various cryptocurrencies as a means of safeguarding their wealth amid a prolonged depreciation of the Turkish lira that had persisted for over two years.
Faruk Fatih Ozer garnered further notoriety when he was photographed in the company of ultranationalist pro-government figures, adding another layer of intrigue to this already sensational story.