The CEO and co-founder of the defunct Turkish cryptocurrency exchange Thodex has been arrested in Albania on suspicion of having fled the country with customer monies. With a red alert from Interpol, Faruk Fatih Ozer was on the run for fraud.
Albania Arrests Alleged Cryptocurrency Fraudster, Plans Extradition to Turkey
The founder and CEO of the defunct cryptocurrency exchange Thodex, 27-year-old Turkish national Faruk Fatih Ozer, was arrested by Albanian police. Since he was said to have escaped to Albania with $2 billion in investor funds, the authorities there have been trying to track him down. It’s estimated that about 400,000 people perished.
Albanian Interior Minister Bledar uçi reportedly notified his Turkish counterpart Süleyman Soylu that Ozer had been caught in Vlora, as reported by the Anadolu Agency and other Turkish media. Biometric information verified his identification.
Ozer vanished in 2021, after the closure of his coin trading platform that had become popular during the crypto boom in Turkey, when many were hoping to protect their assets from the fast declining Turkish lira. Turkey filed an arrest order for him internationally in April of last year.
Thodex’s founders and other members of its senior team are facing thousands of years in prison in Turkey for allegedly stopping trade as part of an exit scheme. Their alleged fraudulent and money-laundering actions allegedly caused damages in excess of 350 million Turkish liras (about $20 million at current exchange rates), according to the authorities.
The Turkish Ministry of Interior has reported that the appropriate steps have been taken by Albania to extradite Ozer to Turkey. The Daily Sabah reported, citing a statement by Elbasan’s prosecutor Kreshnik Ajazi to the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, that he is currently detained in Elbasan (BIRN). It’s likely that Ozer will have to show up in court soon.
As part of the investigation in Turkey, over 60 more people with ties to Thodex have been apprehended. During the effort to apprehend Ozer, the Albanian police say they detained a local of Tirana and another from Durrs to investigate their possible connections to the wanted man. Items such as laptops, cell phones, and bank cards were taken in as evidence.