The Turkish Minister of the Interior announced that the founder of the crypto exchange Thodex was arrested in Albania today. Faruk Fatih Özer was arrested after allegedly defrauding thousands of customers.
The founder of Turkish cryptocurrency exchange Thodex has been apprehended in Albania following his disappearance in 2021 with the funds of roughly 400,00 customers. Özer now faces extradition to Turkey after the process was initiated by Interpol. Thodex was one of Turkey’s largest crypto exchanges before it halted trading in April 2021, costing almost 400,000 users to lose funds. The CEO now faces a tough legal battle with prosecutors seeking jail sentences totalling 40,564 years.
Before it went dark, the exchange lured investors by pledging to distribute luxury cars through an advertising campaign featuring famous Turkish models. The exchange has been in operation since 2017 but abruptly halted trading in April last year, citing an unspecified outside investment that necessitated a five-day pause in trading. Only a day later, Özer claimed that the company was forced to halt trading due to cyberattacks but insisted customer funds were safe and promised to return money to investors shortly. On the same day, Turkish authorities detained 62 people, froze the company’s accounts, and seized computers. By then, Özer had already fled to Albania. Following a manhunt spanning several months, the former CEO was found in the city of Vlorë. His identity was confirmed using biometric results.
The Thodex exit scam was ranked as the largest rug pull in 2021, accounting for a significant share of the $2.8 billion lost through scams last year. In April 2021, information emerged that the exchange transferred $125 million in Bitcoin to the exchange Kraken before it closed.
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