Turkey seeks arrest of missing crypto boss over huge fraud

State media reported on Friday, April 23, that Turkish authorities had issued an international arrest warrant for the founder of the cryptocurrency exchange who fled with a reported $2 billion in investors’ assets. 

 

On Friday, 62 people were detained by the police in raids due to their alleged links to Thodex, the company headed by the fugitive businessman Faruk Fatih Ozer.

According to the private DHA news agency, prosecutors have opened investigations on Ozer over charges of “aggravated fraud.

 

Turkish security officials on Thursday released a photo of him going through passport control at Istanbul airport on his way to an undisclosed location.

Security sources later confirmed that Ozer was in Albania.

 

Reports say the justice ministry has started legal procedures to arrest and extradite Ozer from the Albanian capital Tirana.

The Thodex exchange suspended trading after posting a mysterious message on Wednesday saying it needed five days to deal with an unspecified outside investment.

 

Media reports said the exchange shut down while holding at least $2 billion from 391,000 investors.

Anadolu news agency reported that the 62 suspects were apprehended in simultaneous raids in eight cities, including Istanbul.

 

Police raided the company’s headquarters on the Asian side of Istanbul and seized computers and digital materials.

A lawyer for the investors, Oguz Evren Kilic, said Friday that the investigation into Thodex “is deepening.”

In a message posted on the company’s official Twitter account on Thursday, Ozer slammed the “baseless allegations” against him.

 

He said he was abroad for meetings with foreign investors and would return home “in a few days and cooperate with judicial authorities.”

The Turkish crypto market remains unregulated despite increased skepticism from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government about its safety.

 

Last week, Turkey’s central bank said it would ban cryptocurrencies in payments for goods and services starting from April 30.

 

The country’s central bank alerted that using cryptocurrencies “entail significant risks due to the volatile nature of the market which equally lacks oversight.

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