Turkey issues international arrest warrant for missing cryptocurrency boss over $2B fraud

EYEAFRICA TV: Ankara, THE GAMBIA:- Turkey issued an international arrest warrant on Friday for the founder of a cryptocurrency exchange who fled with a reported $2 billion in investors’ assets, state media reported.

Police also arrested 62 suspects over their relationship with Thodex, a company led by fleeing businessman Faruk Fatih Ozer.

Anadolu News Agency reported that it was being investigated on suspicion of “fraud by establishing a criminal organization using information systems, banks, or credit institutions as tools.”

Turkish security officials released a photo of Ozel passing passport management at Istanbul Airport on his way to a private location on Thursday.

Security sources later confirmed that Ozel, who is said to be 27, has been in Albania since Tuesday.

The Ministry of Justice has begun legal proceedings seeking arrest and surrender from Albania’s capital, Tirana, Anador reported.

Interior Minister Süleyman Soyle spoke on the phone with an Albanian responder about the case, officials added.

The Thodex exchange suspended trading after posting a mysterious message on Wednesday that it would take five days to deal with unspecified external investment.

The exchange was closed while holding at least $ 2 billion from 391,000 investors, according to media reports.

Anadolu News Agency reported that 62 suspects were arrested in simultaneous assaults in eight cities, including Turkey’s main hub, Istanbul.

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

Authorities also imposed a provisional freeze on Ozel’s bank accounts, according to Anador.

According to Turkish television, security sources say Thodex founder Faruk Fatih Ozer is in Albania.

Investor lawyer Oguz Evren Kilic said Friday that Thodex’s investigation was “deepening.”

“Hundreds of thousands of users don’t have access to their digital wallets. Unless you take specific steps, the situation will be even worse,” Thodex told AFP over the phone. His clients have already filed complaints with public prosecutors offices in Istanbul and other cities, Kirick said.

In a message posted on the company’s official Twitter account Thursday, Ozel accused him of “unfounded claims.” He was abroad for a meeting with foreign investors and said, “I will return within a few days and work with the judiciary to reveal the truth.”

According to Turkish customer complaints website Sikayetvar, the number of complaints against Thodex increased by more than 1,160% in the week leading up to April 20 compared to the previous week.

One investor who arrived at Sikayetvar said, “I have been unemployed for a year. I trusted Thodex and invested everything I have … I can’t sleep or eat. Please help me.“

Another said, “Why are the CEOs of Thodex silent? Why are they sacrificing people? Are you kidding us?”

Faced with a sharp decline in the value of the Turkish lira and high inflation, more and more Turks are looking to cryptocurrencies to protect their savings.

Turkey’s crypto market remains unregulated, despite growing skepticism about its security from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government.

The Turkish central bank announced last week that it will ban the use of cryptocurrencies to pay for goods and services starting April 30th.

Cryptocurrencies warned that they “carry significant risks” due to market volatility and lack of oversight.

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