Officials in Turkey detained 62 people in association with fraudulent activities on the Turkish bitcoin exchange, Thodex. These arrests are in acknowledgment of several fraud complaints filed against the exchange. Users started submitting complaints when they discovered they were unable to withdraw funds. As a consequence, authorities arrested suspects in over eight provinces in Turkey. This involves Istanbul, where Thodex has its headquarters. Moreover, authorities have issued warrants for a further 16 people.
However, Thodex’s Founder and CEO, Faruk Fatih Özer, escaped the country, taking $2 billion worth of his users’ capital with him. Turkish authorities consider that the 27-year-old travelled to the Albanian capital of Tiranë. He has also deleted his social media handles. Nevertheless, before flying away, he published a public message from a hidden location, ensuring to repay the investors’ stolen money. While the examination is ongoing, Turkey’s financial crimes regulator suspended the exchange’s accounts. The Turkish police examined the exchange’s base in Istanbul on Thursday, April 22.
Turkey Ministry of Justice Issues Red Notice against Faruk Fatih Özer
Furthermore, Turkey’s Ministry of Justice also started finding Özer with a wanted person “red notice” and is bidding for his extradition from Albania, as per Turkish news agency Anadolu. Approximately 400,000 Thodex users have been unable to access or withdraw funds from the exchange since Wednesday, April 21. Moreover, users witnesses error messages while trying to log in. In a tweet, the exchange clarified that the issue was due to a collaboration offer that required assessing before transactions could continue. They pledged their users that normal operations would be back after five working days.
Following the central bank of Turkey’s determination to outlaw cryptocurrency payments, these arrests occur, following in many knock-on effects. Shortly after the decision, bitcoin and Ether displayed drops of 3%. The bank’s decision appeared during a boom in digital asset usage. Many used cryptocurrencies rather than the Turkish lira, following a drastic deterioration in the fiat currency’s value. The country has witnessed a surge in interest and inflation rates as well. The ban on cryptocurrency will come into force on April 30, 2021.
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