A Turkish cryptocurrency exchange is offline and its CEO has reportedly gone missing, leaving thousands of investors worried that their funds have been stolen.
Thodex, a crypto platform based in Turkey, said its platform has been “temporarily closed” to address an “abnormal fluctuation in the company accounts,” according to a translated statement on its website.
Local media reports say that Faruk Fatih Ozer, Thodex’s founder, has flown to Albania, taking $2 billion of investors’ funds with him. Demiroren News Agency published a photo of what it said was Ozer leaving Istanbul Airport.
A lawyer who filed a criminal complaint against Ozer said Thodex had 400,000 users, of which 390,000 were active. However, Ozer has disputed the allegations, saying only 30,000 users have been affected by the situation and that reports about $2 billion of losses are “unfounded.”
According to Anadolu Agency, Turkish authorities have now issued an international warrant seeking Ozer’s arrest. Police have detained 62 people in eight cities including Istanbul, the state-run news agency said.
Thousands of Thodex users have filed complaints against the company, with investors saying they are unable to access their accounts and worry that their savings may be irretrievable. Some Turkish citizens have turned to crypto as a way to protect their savings from skyrocketing inflation and the weakening of the Turkish lira.
Thodex last month offered new registrants millions of free dogecoins. The exchange reportedly said 4 million of the meme-inspired crypto tokens had been distributed but many users say they haven’t received them