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One Year Fugitive, Turkish Crypto ‘Thieve’ Has Been Arrested!

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The founder of Turkish crypto exchange Thodex, Faruk Fatih Ozer has finally been arrested in the Albanian city of VlorĂ«, after a year-long fugitive. Ozer’s arrest has been confirmed by the Turkish Interior Ministry.

Citing  AFP  on Tuesday last week, Tirana, the Albanian capital, has informed Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu that Ozer, wanted by Interpol, has been captured.

Meanwhile, Turkey issued an international arrest warrant in April last year for Ozer, who fled with investor assets worth US$2 billion or Rp 29.6 trillion (assuming an exchange rate of Rp 14,800). The extradition procedure has begun.

In April 2021, hundreds to thousands of Thodex users were suddenly unable to access their digital assets after  the trading platform  abruptly stopped trading at that time and sparked accusations of fraud .

Fatih Ozer’s crime began when the popularity of the crypto exchange skyrocketed. The rapid growth of the crypto exchange was triggered by the decline in the value of the Turkish currency, the Lira in recent years.

In fact, the crypto exchange which was founded in 2017 had launched an aggressive campaign to attract investors. Thodex is said to have promised to distribute luxury cars through a flashy advertising campaign featuring famous Turkish models.

However, the exchange suspended trading in April last year after posting a mysterious message days earlier saying it would take five days to deal with unspecified outside investments.

Istanbul-based Thodex went dark after running a promotional campaign that sold Dogecoin at a quarter of the price they traded on other exchanges. The exchange then locks the investment and does not allow the coins to be sold or converted into other cryptocurrencies.

Turkish security officials later released a photo of Ozer through passport control at Istanbul airport on his way to an unspecified location.

Media reports said the exchange closed temporarily holding at least $2 billion from 391,000 investors. More than 60 people associated with the company were arrested.

The hunt for Ozer comes as the Turkish crypto market begins to falter. The government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned of the risks and announced plans to rein in the digital currency market.

Turkish police have also detained 62 Thodex employees and confiscated the company’s computers and frozen  its platform . However, Ozer fled to Albania with US$2 billion in funds from investors and users.

However, until Ozer was arrested, the investor funds brought by Ozer were unknown. Many deny that the user’s funds that were taken away by Ozer have been transferred of US $ 125 million or around Rp. 1.8 trillion in Bitcoin to the Kraken crypto exchange in the United States (US).

Before Ozer was arrested, a Turkish prosecutor had intended to apply for a sentence of thousands of years in prison against Ozer. Prosecutors also filed charges against imprisonment of up to 40,654 years for each of the 21 Thodex defendants.

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