Turkish crypto founder Faruk Fatih Ozer, along with his two brothers, Serap and Guven Ozer, have been sentenced to 11,196 years in jail each, according to the Anadolu state news agency. The sentencing comes after prosecutors sought a 40,562-year prison term for Faruk Fatih Ozer on charges of money laundering, fraud, and establishing a criminal organization. The verdict was issued late Thursday following a brief trial.
Ozer, who fled to Albania, was initially reported to have left Turkey in April 2021 with $2 billion in investor assets, although the exact figure has been disputed. Prosecutors alleged that Ozer transferred 250 million liras (approximately $30 million at the time) to three secret accounts before fleeing, with a significant portion of the funds ending up in a bank in Malta. The indictment stated that the Ozer brothers caused 356 million liras in damages to clients.
The case gained attention due to its coincidence with a crypto boom in Turkey, which has since subsided due to increased government regulation. Many Turks turned to cryptocurrencies as a hedge against the devaluation of the lira. Faruk Fatih Ozer further attracted media attention after being photographed with ultranationalist pro-government figures. He was arrested in Albania last year based on an international arrest warrant issued by Interpol.
Turkey is known for imposing lengthy prison sentences, a practice that became more prevalent after the country abolished the death penalty in 2004.