A Turkish cryptocurrency exchange with about 400,000 users has been accused of pulling an exit scam. Its CEO has reportedly fled Turkey, allegedly taking $2 billion of customer funds with him. The police have an arrest warrant for the CEO and 62 people have already been detained in connection with the case.
Crypto Exchange Accused of Exit Scam
Turkish cryptocurrency exchange Thodex is offline and its CEO has reportedly gone missing. Thousands of investors are worried that their funds have been stolen since they are unable to access their accounts.
A statement on the exchange’s website details that the platform is “temporarily closed” to address an “abnormal fluctuation in the company accounts.”
Local media reported that Thodex’s founder, Faruk Fatih Ozer, has fled the country to Albania, allegedly taking $2 billion of investors’ funds with him. Demiroren News Agency published a photo which it claims to be Ozer leaving Istanbul Airport.
Turkish authorities have issued an international arrest warrant for Ozer, the state-run news agency Anadolu Agency reported. Interpol then issued a red notice for Ozer on Friday. Turkish police headquarters said that the country’s interior minister and police chief spoke with their Albanian counterparts on Thursday to seek Ozer’s arrest.
Thousands of users have filed complaints against Thodex saying that they have been scammed. They are unable to access their accounts and are worried that their savings may be irretrievable.
A lawyer who filed a criminal complaint against Ozer said Thodex had 400,000 users, of which 390,000 were active. However, Ozer disagreed, claiming that only 30,000 users have been affected by the situation and that reports about $2 billion of losses are “unfounded.”
Police searched the company’s Istanbul offices and seized materials on Thursday. Arrest warrants have been issued for 78 suspects and police have so far detained 62 people in eight cities, including Istanbul, in connection to the case.
Cryptocurrencies have recently gained popularity among some Turkish citizens looking to protect their savings from soaring inflation and sinking lira. Turkey’s central bank recently banned the use of cryptocurrencies as a means of payment. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for swift regulation of cryptocurrencies, warning of the rising number of pyramid schemes in the crypto markets.
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