A disgraced Turkish crypto founder who fled to Albania, as well as his two brothers, were sentenced to 11,196 years in prison each, according to the Anadolu official news agency on Friday.
Prosecutors sought a sentence of 40,562 years in prison for Thodex CEO Faruk Fatih Ozer, 29, for money laundering, fraud, and establishing a criminal organization.
“If I were to establish a criminal organisation, I would not have acted so amateurishly,” Anadolu quoted Ozer as telling the court.
His two brothers, Serap and Guven, received the same sentence, which was handed down late Thursday following a brief trial, according to Turkish media reports.
Turkey is known for imposing lengthy jail sentences, which became more common when it abolished the death penalty in 2004 in order to facilitate its accession to the European Union.
Ozer was said to have fled Turkey in April 2021 with $2 billion in investor assets, although that figure has subsequently been contested.
When Ozer fled Turkey in April 2021, prosecutors said he transferred 250 million liras in user assets (worth about $30 million at the time) to three secret accounts, with much of the money ending up in a Malta bank.
The indictment said the Ozer brothers had caused 356 million liras of damage to clients in all.
The case made headlines in Turkey because it coincided with a crypto boom that has now largely abated due to increased government oversight.
Turks began turning to various crypto currencies as a hedge against the lira’s depreciation, which began more than two years ago.
Ozer rose to prominence after being photographed with ultranationalist pro-government figures.
He was arrested last year in Albania on an international arrest warrant from Interpol.