The founder and CEO of Thodex, a Turkish crypto exchange that defrauded nearly 400,000 users in what politicians called “the biggest fraud case in the history of the Republic,” was arrested in Turkey this week after two years on the run, reports Anadolu Agency.
In 2021, Faruk Fatih Ozer reportedly shuttered Thodex and fled to Albania with $2 billion of user funds. Chainalysis said earlier this year that the lost crypto was worth $2.6 billion.
Ozer was arrested in Albania on August 30 following an Interpol red notice. His detention and extradition were contested in court but his appeals were quashed and on December 30 his extradition to Turkey was upheld.
He faces charges of fraud, money laundering, and managing a criminal organization.
More than 60 Thodex employees were arrested in the days following Thodex’s collapse and a Turkish Mafia kingpin-turned-YouTuber living in Dubai claimed that Turkish government ministers took bribes from Ozer.
The Turkish crypto exchange’s 2021 popularity was spurred on by rising inflation and an unstable Lira. Turks looking for financial security turned to exchanges like Thodex and even the government hoped interest in the metaverse would help save the country’s spiraling currency. Since January 2021, the Lira has fallen by 60%.