A man alleged to have defrauded 390,000 cryptocurrency investors to the tune of $2 billion is believed to be on the run in Albania.
Faruk Fatih Ozer, the owner of the Thodex cryptocurrency exchange, deactivated his social media profiles and took off for Tirana, according to Turkish television broadcaster Haberturk.
Istanbul’s Chief Prosecutor’s office told the media they were investigating the exchange after users said they were unable to access their assets. If wrongdoing is proven, Ozer could face serious charges including fraud and forming a criminal organization.
Haberturk stated that the police cyber crimes department had raided Thodex’s offices yesterday while the financial crimes investigation agency put a freeze on all bank accounts.
Several Turkish media published a statement allegedly from Ozer who denied the allegations and said he had left the country to hold meetings with foreign investors. He added he would be returning to Turkey in the coming days to talk to the authorities. In answer to questions on why the site was unavailable, he said it was because of a cyber attack.
Earlier in the week, Thodex posted a message on its website stating they would be closed for several days due to potential outside investment. Users complained en masse as they were unable to deposit or withdraw any funds, or even access their accounts.
He was photographed at passport control at Istanbul airport. The media has claimed he was going to Albania, but this has not been verified.