British Columbia

Aydin Coban sentenced in Dutch court to 10 years for online fraud, blackmail

Aydin Coban, a 38-year-old Dutch man, has been sentenced to 10 years and 243 days in prison for online fraud and blackmail in relation to the abuse of 34 young women and men. He also faces charges in connection with the cyberbullying of B.C. teen Amanda Todd.

Coban also faces 5 charges in relation to the Amanda Todd case

A sketch of a man wearing glasses and having medium-length flowing hair.
Aydin Coban, shown in an artist's sketch from court, received a maximum sentence of nearly 11 years in prison because a judge fears he will reoffend. (Eurovision)

A 38-year-old Dutch man has been sentenced to 10 years and 243 days in prison for online fraud and blackmail in relation to the abuse of 34 young women and men.

The sentence given to Aydin Coban by a judge in the Netherlands is the maximum that prosecutors were seeking.

Coban also faces charges in relation to the cyberbullying of B.C. teenager Amanda Todd. In October 2012, Todd, who was 15 at the time, committed suicide after posting a video on YouTube saying she had been blackmailed by someone online.

A press release from the Dutch court said Coban "deceived tenants, committed computer intrusion and blackmailed a man online by pretending to be a boy who was looking for sexual contacts."

It said Coban's primary targets were "dozens of young girls." He would gain their trust by chatting with them online, posing as a young boy or girl, and then persuade them to perform sexual acts in front of a webcam, the court said. He would threaten to share the images of the girls to people they knew or post them to pornography sites.

"He did not stop at threats: if a girl did not comply with his demands, C. [Coban] did not hesitate to actually send sexual images to the family and friends of the victims or to post those images on the internet. It is clear that this can have a major impact on the personal development of young girls," said the statement.

The judge said the maximum sentence was given because there is a risk that Coban will reoffend.

Todd's mother relieved

Carol Todd, Amanda's mother, said she was happy to hear Coban will be behind bars for a long time.

Amanda Todd, 15, killed herself in 2012 after posting a video online telling a story of being harassed relentlessly. Coban faces charges in relation to cyberbullying the girl. (RIPAmandaTodd/Facebook)

"It brought great relief and satisfaction and I'm so glad that the judges over there decided that there was enough evidence and testimony to render him guilty as charged," she said.

Todd said she is now focused on getting justice in Canada.

The RCMP charged Coban in 2014 in relation to the Todd case. The five charges include possession of child pornography, extortion, internet luring, criminal harassment and distribution of child pornography.

Coban will be extradited for that trial after the Dutch proceedings conclude, although he has appealed to stay in the Netherlands.

"It's been a long journey," Todd said.

"Amanda's image was first posted by her perpetrator in 2010. We're now in 2017. But we're going to wait and hopefully ... we'll have a good verdict when the trial happens here."

Keylogger tool questioned

Coban's former lawyer, Christian van Dijk, said the case could still be appealed to the European Court, in part because of the surveillance tools used by police.

"This sentence is really high, especially for the Netherlands," van Dijk wrote to CBC News in an email.

"In my vision, the court made a mistake by accepting the use of the Keylogger. The European Court is very strict when it comes to privacy and I expect that if this case will be handled by the European Court, there will be a whole other outcome.

"The question will be if the use of secret surveillance tools by governmental organizations are accepted, and if so, what are the requirements. ... This case will have influence on many other judgments in Europe."