Prosecutors in Turkey have launched an investigation into cryptocurrency exchange Thodex after allegations have surfaced that its CEO defrauded 390,000 investors out of $2 billion.
The office of Istanbul sent their chief prosecutor to investigate the exchange after complaints were made by users that they could no longer access their digital assets.
The allegations center around CEO Faruk Faith Ozer, who deactivated all of his social media accounts and is believed to have fled to Albania, according to Turkish broadcaster Haberturk.
Prosecutors say that Ozer could face charges of charges of fraud and forming a criminal investigation as Turkish authorities and cyber-crime personnel search Thodex’s offices, The Turkish Financial Crimes Unit has also blocked all of Thodex’s funds and is currently trying to freeze Ozer’s assets.
Ozer released a written statement to Haberturk, denying any allegations of fraud and saying that he had left Turkey to hold a business meeting with foreign investors. His statement said that the would return to Turkey “within a few days” to cooperate with authorities.
In the statement, Ozer also claimed that Thodex’s crypto exchange was down due to a potential cybersecurity attack that their office was currently investigating.
Early last week, Thodex informed its users that their exchange would be down for a few hours for “maintenance”, but were then told it would be 4 to 5 days before the exchange would be back online.
Turkish citizens have been increasing their crypto investments steadily since reports that the country’s currency system would be seeing spikes in inflation following the COVID-19 pandemic.
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