International manhunt continues over alleged $2B crypto exchange fraud

Police arrest crypto exchange Thodex' brother and sister in this ongoing saga, as shown by the handcuffs and the wanted poster in this image.

In an update to the ongoing Thodex case: the brother and sister of crypto exchange founder Faruk Fatih Özer have been detained, according to Turkish media.

The pair, along with several others, are in custody at the reported direction of Istanbul’s chief prosecutor.

Demirören News Agency (DHA) suggested the arrests took place in Albania, where Özer is said to be hiding after allegedly defrauding 390,000 users.

However, Turkey’s state-run Andolou Agency (AA) reports police apprehended Gökhan Özer in Pendik, Turkey. 

AA noted authorities detained two Albanian nationals after a raid in capital city Tirana. The outlet cited information obtained from security sources.

The pair are accused of helping Özer. One of the detained suspects allegedly met Özer at the airport and helped him hide from police.

Efforts to arrest Thodex’ 27-year-old founder continue

AA reported Tuesday that Interpol had issued a red notice for Faruk Fatih Özer’s arrest.

The red notice however appears absent from Interpol’s website at press time. Protos has reached out to Interpol to confirm it issued an alert for Özer.

In the following days, two more Turkish crypto exchanges went offline. 

DHA’s headline has been automatically translated.

Local media reported the arrests of Vebitcoin chief exec Ilker Bas and three associates accused of fraud shortly after.

Crypto exchanges vanished under looming payments ban

Earlier this month, the Turkish government moved to prevent businesses from handling cryptocurrency altogether. The ban is due to come into effect on Thursday.

As a result, Binance’s Turkish arm notified users they can no longer use payment services Papara and Inial to transfer money in and out of their trading accounts.

Former MP Aykan Erdemir argued the sudden ruling triggered a bank run on local crypto exchanges, which triggered the string of apparent exit scams.

[Read More: Turkey’s central bank caused run on crypto exchanges, says former MP]

In any case, a clearer picture of the regulatory framework has since emerged. 

A senior official told Bloomberg the government now plans a central custodian bank for digital assets to mitigate risk. 

“Authorities are also pondering a capital threshold for exchanges and education requirements for executives at such firms,” said the source, who noted the plans are yet to be finalized.

Thodex timeline

3 years ago

First signs of concerns for Thodex users as the exchange locks users out of accounts. [Bloomberg]

3 years ago

Özer caught fleeing Turkey via Instanbul Airport with $2 billion in stolen funds. Thodex users accuse the founder of fraud. [CNBC]

3 years ago

Dozens of arrests made in connection with alleged Thodex ‘exit scam.’ [Reuters]

3 years ago

Three Turkish exchanges go offline. Former Turkish MP argues looming crypto regulation caused a run on exchanges. [Protos]

3 years ago

Turkey’s biggest exchange BTCTurk offers custodian services to banks and exchanges as crypto-crisis continues. [Bloomberg]

3 years ago

Two suspects detained following raid in Albania. Police accuse the pair of helping Özer evade capture. [AA, state-run)]

3 years ago

Thodex founder’s brother and sister arrested, Özer remains on the run (via Turkish state-run news agency). [AA, state-run)]

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