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Turkish authorities arrest founder of Thodex crypto exchange

TL;DR

  • Faruk Fatih Ozer, the founder of Thodex crypto exchange, has been extradited from Albania to Turkey.
  • Ozer faces charges of fraud and money laundering after allegedly fleeing Turkey with around $2 billion in investor funds.
  • Thodex abruptly halted trading and withdrawals in 2021, leading to suspicions of an exit scam.

Faruk Fatih Ozer, the founder and former CEO of Turkish cryptocurrency exchange Thodex, has been extradited from Albania to Turkey, following a two-year manhunt after the platform abruptly ceased trading.

Facing charges of fraud and money laundering, the 27-year-old was taken into custody by the Istanbul Airport Police Department upon arrival on April 20, as reported by Turkish state-run news agency Anadolu Agency.

Legal proceedings and extradition process

Ozer was arrested in Albania on August 30, 2022, after a red notice was issued by Interpol on April 23, 2021. Charged with fraud and founding a criminal organization, Ozer had fled Turkey, leaving investors unable to access their funds.

Turkey issued an international arrest warrant after he reportedly absconded with around $2 billion in investor funds poured into Thodex.

The Elbasan Court of First Instance in Albania upheld Ozer’s detention on September 2, 2022, and the decision was appealed by his lawyers on September 14, 2022.

The Durres Court of Appeals maintained the ruling on September 20. On November 17, 2022, the Elbasan Court of First Instance granted the Elbasan Prosecutor’s Office’s request to extradite Ozer to Turkey, which Ozer appealed on December 7, 2022. However, the Durres Court of Appeals upheld the extradition verdict on December 30, 2022.

Ozer’s extradition process concluded when the plane carrying him took off from the Albanian capital of Tirana and landed at Istanbul Airport.

Upon arrival, the Istanbul Airport Police Department took custody of Ozer, who is expected to undergo health check-ups before being transported to the Istanbul Police Department.

Thodex’s collapse and aftermath

Thodex halted trading and withdrawals on April 22, 2021, amidst reports of police raids at its offices. Local publications speculated that the suspension was part of an exit scam involving Ozer, who allegedly fled Turkey with at least $2 billion worth of stolen cryptocurrency from Thodex.

Interpol subsequently issued a red notice for Ozer, who reportedly escaped to Albania. Almost a year after Thodex’s collapse, Ozer was apprehended in Albania in August 2022. Turkish police also detained 62 individuals over the alleged Thodex exit scam, including some siblings of the then-missing CEO.

Ozer’s arrest in Albania marked a turning point in the Thodex saga, with the founder finally brought to justice in Turkey after leaving nearly 400,000 members in the dark without access to their funds.

Users had deposited $2 billion in cryptocurrencies in the exchange, and Ozer’s extradition on April 19, 2023, and detainment on April 20, signifies the beginning of the next chapter in this high-profile case.

Disclaimer: The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decision.

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Jai Hamid

Jai Hamid is a passionate writer with a keen interest in blockchain technology, the global economy, and literature. She dedicates most of her time to exploring the transformative potential of crypto and the dynamics of worldwide economic trends.

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