Turkey issues warrant for fleeing crypto founder

Turkish authorities on Friday, April 23 issue an international warrant to arrest and extradite the missing founder of a cryptocurrency exchange.

Following the request, Interpol issued a red notice for the Thodex founder Faruk Fatih Özer who fled to the Albanian capital of Tirana with a reported $2 billion in investors’ assets.

Turkish authorities on April 22 detained 62 people over alleged links to the Istanbul-based cryptocurrency exchange.

The suspects were apprehended in raids carried out in eight cities including Istanbul, the Anadolu news agency reported. Police issued arrest warrants for 16 other people.

There was no immediate information about the detainees.

The Thodex exchange suspended trading after posting a mysterious message on Wednesday saying it needed five days to deal with an unspecified outside investment.

Reports said the exchange shut down while holding at least $2 billion from 391,000 investors.

Investors’ lawyer Oguz Evren Kılıç told AFP on Thursday that hundreds of thousands of users were unable to get access to their digital wallets.

We have started the legal procedures and lodged a complaint at the prosecutor’s office, he said.

Prosecutors were investigating the businessman on charges of "aggravated fraud and founding a criminal organization".

Police raided the company’s headquarters on the Asian side of Istanbul and seized computers and digital materials, press reports revealed.

In a message on the company’s Twitter account, Özer said he was abroad for meetings with foreign investors and would return home "in a few days and cooperate with judicial authorities so that the truth can come out".

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