Albanian police on Tuesday arrested the fugitive Turkish founder of cryptocurrency exchange Thodex, wanted by Interpol on suspicion of cryptocurrency fraud and on the run for a year, police and media said.
The Albanian and Turkish media identified the suspect as Faruk Fatih Ozer. Turkey’s interior ministry said authorities have begun extradition proceedings.
Police named the suspect only by the initials FO and said the 28-year-old was arrested in the southern resort of Himara along with two Albanian assistants in connection with an operation codenamed “Brain”.
“After numerous searches in several regions of the country, based on the information received on the operational route about the whereabouts of a person wanted by Turkish justice (…), Operation Brain was organized and completed,” the police said. statement.
“As part of this operation, a 28-year-old Turkish citizen F.O. was detained and taken into custody. »
Police seized laptops, mobile devices and bank cards, the report said.
Thodex ran hundreds of millions of dollars worth of crypto exchanges daily when Turkish authorities raided the site last year and six suspects, including company executives and Ozer’s siblings, were arrested and later jailed.
At Turkey’s request, Interpol issued a red notice to Ozer, who flew to Albania before news of the company’s problems broke and the company shut down its website.
Thodex lawyer Sevgi Erarslan previously stated that the exchange collapsed due to the extreme volatility of some cryptocurrencies and the hack. According to her, suspicions of fraud were unrealistic.
Erarslan also said that the company covered more than 800 people who lost money in the stock market crash.
Turkish authorities have subsequently banned the use of crypto assets for payments, and some local exchanges have been investigated for fraud. The use of digital currencies is booming in Turkey, fueled by rising inflation and the depreciation of the lira.
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