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 (opens in new tab) claim the firm's founder, Faruk Fatih Ozer, has flown to Albania, sparking an ongoing international manhunt.
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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 (opens in new tab), 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.