Crypto exchange boss allegedly flees with $2 billion in funds

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The CEO of a Turkish cryptocurrency exchange has reportedly disappeared with $2 billion of investors' funds, leaving more than 300,000 users concerned about their money.

The crypto platform Thodex said it had been “temporarily closed” to address an “abnormal fluctuation in the company accounts,” according to a statement on its website. But local media reports claim the firm's founder, Faruk Fatih Ozer, has flown to Albania, sparking an ongoing international manhunt.

The incident seemingly began on Wednesday (April 21) when Ozer disappeared; Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency said that 62 people have since been questioned around his disappearance and the closure of the exchange.

However, Ozer himself said that the claims are "unfounded," posting a lengthy statement on the platform's website in which he maintains he traveled abroad to meet foreign investors, that only 30,000 out of 700,000 accounts have been affected by the "suspicious situation," and labels the allegations a "smear campaign against both myself and my company."

According to Bloomberg, Thodex recently offered new registrants millions of free Dogecoins, but many users alleged they haven’t received them.

The news comes amid turmoil over cryptocurrency in Turkey. Last week, the central bank pledged to tighten regulations around crypto trading. And on Friday another exchange, Vebitcoin, also halted operations; four employees were reportedly detained soon afterwards.

Marc McLaren

Formerly Editor in Chief (U.K.) on Tom’s Guide, Marc oversaw all gaming, streaming, audio, TV, entertainment, how-to and cameras coverage, and was also responsible for the site’s U.K.-focused output. He is now U.K. Editor in Chief on TechRadar. Marc previously edited the tech website Stuff and has tested and written about phones, tablets, wearables, streaming boxes, smart home devices, Bluetooth speakers, headphones, games, TVs, cameras and much more. He also spent years on a music magazine, where his duties mainly involved spoiling other people’s fun, and on a car magazine. An avid photographer, he likes nothing better than taking pictures of very small things (bugs, his daughters) or very big things (distant galaxies). When he gets time, he also enjoys gaming (console and mobile), cycling and attempting to watch as much sport as any human can. He's also fallen in love with Wordle over the past six months and is the author of our today's Wordle answer column, in which he supplies hints and strategy tips for the mega-popular word game. Given he's completed every single Wordle so far and only lost once, and analyzed every Wordle answer in search of patterns, he's well qualified to help you safeguard your streak.