62 detained in Turkey a day after alleged $2 billion crypto ‘exit scam’
Turkish police launched an investigation after one of the largest crypto exchanges in the country went dark.
Turkish police have detained 62 people across eight provinces in connection to an ongoing investigation into local crypto exchange Thodex going dark, news agency Associated Press reported today.
On Wednesday, several reports stated that Thodex, which had anywhere between $2-10 billion worth of its users’ cryptocurrencies in custody, has abruptly stopped all operations. This caused panic among local traders who lost access to their digital assets.
The exchange published an official statement later that day, claiming that it had to suspend trading for 4-5 days for maintenance due to some undisclosed investment. However, lawyer Oğuz Evren Kılıç suggested that this could have very well been a scam.
He filed a criminal complaint to the prosecutor’s office but warned that “the legal process can take years.”
“Can we call this a ‘Turkish Mt. Gox Incident’?” he tweeted.
Buna bir "Türk Mt. Gox Olayı" diyebilir miyiz?
— Av. Oğuz Evren Kılıç (@UlgenKhan) April 21, 2021
Meanwhile, Faruk Fatih Ozer, the 27-year-old owner of Thodex, reportedly left Turkey earlier this week. Thodex’s lawyer, Bedirhan Oguz Basibuyuk, also stated that the exchange has been having liquidity problems lately.
“There was a decline in Thodex’s assets. When too many users demanded their money back, the company was unable to meet those,” he reportedly said.
As the situation was unfolding, Ozer published yet another statement on Thodex’s website, this time claiming that that exchange fell victim to a cyberattack and a smear campaign. Thodex CEO also claimed that he thought about “either committing suicide or giving himself up to authorities,” but ostensibly decided to return to Turkey in the end.
Beklenen açıklama geldi.
Uzun, zorlu bir süreç başlıyor. https://t.co/EOGB48lrFt
— Av. Oğuz Evren Kılıç (@UlgenKhan) April 22, 2021
“So I decided to stay alive and fight, work, and repay my debts to you. The day I repay all my debt, I will return to my country and give myself into justice,” Ozer wrote.
Per AP’s report, Turkish prosecutors have also issued detention warrants for 16 more people—in addition to 62 already in custody—allegedly linked to Thodex.