He is a crypto exchange founder who has long eluded the authorities, currently in police custody.
According to a report cited by Barron’s to the Turkish Ministry of Interior, Albania has detained the founder and CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Thodex, who fled Turkey, leaving users’ funds irrecoverable.
The fugitive entrepreneur – Faruk Fatih Özer – was the subject of the Interpol Red Bulletin, which called for law enforcement around the world to find and arrest a wanted person.
An international arrest warrant was issued in April 2021 for Özer, who allegedly fled 391 thousand investors with $2 billion.
During this time, authorities conducted simultaneous dawn raids on eight Turkish towns and detained 62 people suspected of ties to Özer’s company, Thodex. In this raid, a significant amount of digitized paper and other materials were seized.
Crypto Exchange CEO Says Accusations Are Unfounded
According to the report, the Tirana police told Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu that Özer had been arrested in Vlora, Albania.
Tirana is the capital and most considerable city of Albania. Biometric results proved Özer’s identity.
Özer stated that the allegations against him were “baseless” and that he was in Albania for “job talks” before he was arrested.
The 27-year-old CEO is accused of fraud and setting up a “criminal enterprise”. The Ministry of Interior said that the extradition proceedings were handled by the Interpol Office of the Turkish police.
Thodex, which has been in business since 2017, abruptly stopped trading in April 2021, citing an undefined foreign investment that requested a four- to five-day trading halt.
Tightening the Grip on Crypto
An increasing number of Turks are choosing to adopt cryptocurrencies to protect their assets against the sharp decline in the value of the national currency lira. However, the crypto market in Turkey is unregulated.
The Turkish government said in April last year that it would ban the use of cryptocurrencies as payment for goods and services.
Many countries, including Russia, China, and India, have indicated that they will introduce more regulation of cryptocurrencies in response to concerns about the potential for volatile trading and illegal use.
Meanwhile, Prosecutor Kreshnik Ajazi announced that Özer will appear in court in the coming days, where a 40-day “security measure” will be determined and then the extradition process to Turkey will begin