Thodex exchange founder Faruk Fatih Ozer is reported to have left the country after Masak, the financial crimes investigation board, blocked the exchanges accounts on Wednesday and started an investigation into an alleged scam of epic proportions.
So far, the Turkish police have detained 62 people and have issued warrants to arrest a further 78. According to the state-owned news agency Anadolu, thousands of Turkish investors have filed criminal complaints over the affair.
Turkish security has released a photo of Ozer leaving the country via Istanbul airport. It is reported that he has flown to the Albanian capital Tirana.
The Thodex trading platform has ceased functioning, due to the authorities shutting it down, but also due to the fact that it cannot operate without the presence of Ozer.
According to Bloomberg News, a man hunt is now underway and the justice ministry has applied to Interpol to help find, arrest and return the wanted exchange CEO.
It also reported that a statement from an unknown location, said to be from Ozer, reads that he will return to Turkey at a later date in order to face the charges against him.
Up until now, Ozer has strenuously denied any wrong-doing, and has denied all the allegations. He purports to have left the country for legitimate business reasons which include meeting with foreign investors.
Around 390,000 users of the Thodex exchange are said to be affected and losses could be as high as $2 billion according to Turkish newspaper Haberturk. A lawyer contracted by those who have lost money said that their crypto assets had become “irretrievable”.
The alleged scam couldn’t have come at a worse time for Turkish cryptocurrency holders and traders, after the recent ban on cryptocurrencies by the Turkish central bank.
The ban comes into effect on April 30 and will prevent holders of cryptocurrencies from using them for payments.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.