Albanian authorities detained Thodex’s founder and chief executive. The suspect allegedly fled Turkey, reportedly with funds from customers. Interpol issued a red alert naming Faruk Fatih Ozer as suspect in fraud.
Albania captures a suspected crypto fraudster and prepares to hand him over to the Turkish judiciary
Faruk Fatih Ozer (27), a Turkish-born businessman, was detained by Albanian police. He founded the then-defunct crypto-exchange Thodex. Albanian law enforcement has been trying to locate him since he reportedly fled to the country with $2 billion of investors’ assets. Around 400,000 victims are suspected to have been affected.
According to an announcement by Turkey’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, quoted by the Anadolu Agency and other Turkish media, the Minister of the Interior of Albania Bledar Çuçi informed his counterpart in Ankara, Süleyman Soylu, that Ozer was captured in the city of Vlora. Biometric data confirmed his identity.
Ozer went missing in 2021, after the shuttering of his crypto trading platform. He gained fame during the Turkish crypto boom. Turkey issued an international warrant of arrest for Ozer in April 2017.
Turkish prosecutors seek prison sentences totaling thousands of years for Thodex’s founders and other members of its executive team suspected of halting trading as part of an exit scam. Authorities accuse them of money laundering and fraud. They claim that their actions caused damages in excess of 350 million Turkish Liras, which is close to $20 Million at the current exchange rate.
The Turkish interior ministry said that Albania has already initiated the necessary procedures for Ozer’s extradition to Turkey. He is now being held in Elbasan, the Daily Sabah wrote, quoting a statement by the Albanian city’s prosecutor Kreshnik Ajazi for the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN). Ozer will likely appear before the court.
As part of an investigation underway in Turkey, over 60 people linked to Thodex were also detained. The Albanian police said that during its operation for Ozer’s arrest, a resident of Tirana and another person from Durrës were apprehended to determine their relations with the suspect. As evidence, laptop computers, bank cards and mobile phones were taken.
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