IslamNews – Turkish police have detained 62 people as part of an investigation into a cryptocurrency trading platform provider, state-owned Anadolu news agency said on Friday, after thousands of Turks filed criminal complaints saying they had been scammed.
Turkish prosecutors said on Thursday they had opened an investigation after the Istanbul-based founder of a cryptocurrency exchange shut down his site and appeared to have fled the country with a reported $2bn in investors’ assets.
The Thodex website went dark after posting a mysterious message saying it was suspending trading for five days on Wednesday because of an unspecified outside investment.
Prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 78 people and 62 had so far been detained in an operation centred on Istanbul, but stretching across eight provinces, Anadolu said.
Turkish security officials released a photo of Thodex founder Faruk Fatih Ozer going through passport control at Istanbul airport on Tuesday.
Istanbul police said Ozer, reported to be either 27 or 28 years old, had flown to the Albanian capital Tirana.
The financial crimes investigation board Masak blocked the company’s accounts on Wednesday and began an investigation, a Masak source told Reuters.
The trading platform is “unable” to continue operations with Ozer out of the country, the company said in a written statement on Thursday.
The shutdown of the platform has left the remaining assets of about 391,000 active users “irretrievable,” according to Oguz Evren Kilic, who represents an unspecified number of Thodex users and has filed a legal complaint on their behalf.
Bedirhan Oguz Basibuyuk, Thodex’s lawyer, told Bloomberg News he did know where Ozer was, but that he planned to return only after payments to all users have been made.