Entornointeligente.com / Police teams carry out simultaneous raids in eight different provinces to detain 62 of 78 suspects with warrants issued for their arrest. In this illustration photo global cryptocurrency exchange “Thodex” logo is displayed on a screen in Ankara, Turkey on April 22, 2021. (AA) Turkish authorities have detained 62 people over alleged links to an Istanbul-based cryptocurrency exchange after its founder fled with a reported $2 billion in investors' assets, official media reported.
The suspects were apprehended in raids carried out in eight cities including Istanbul, AA reported on Friday.
Police issued arrest warrants for 16 other people.
There was no immediate information about the detainees.
Turkish security officials then released a photo of Thodex founder Faruk Fatih Ozer going through passport control at Istanbul Airport on his way to Albania.
On Friday, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu made a phone call to his Albanian counterpart to request Ozer be captured and repatriated.
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.
Turkish security officials released a photo of Thodex founder Faruk Fatih Ozer going through passport control at Istanbul airport on April 22, 2021. (AFP) “Aggravated fraud and founding a criminal organisation”
On Thursday, 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,” a lawyer for some investors said.
Prosecutors were investigating the businessman on charges of “aggravated fraud and founding a criminal organisation”.
Police raided the company's headquarters on the Asian side of Istanbul and seized computers and digital materials, press reports revealed.
Turkish authorities started procedures to issue an international warrant to arrest and extradite the missing founder of a cryptocurrency exchange, Anadolu Agency reported.
ÖNEMLİ DUYURU pic.twitter.com/3aBeJjFSYQ
— THODEX (@thodexofficial) April 22, 2021 Growing scepticism
In a message on the company's Twitter account, Ozer 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”.
Growing numbers of Turks are turning to cryptocurrency in a bid to shield their savings in the face of a sharp decline in the value of the Turkish lira and high inflation.
The Turkish crypto market remains unregulated despite growing scepticism from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government about its safety.
READ MORE: T urkey launches probe into cryptocurrency platform Thodex
READ MORE: Why are cryptocurrencies booming in Turkey?
LINK ORIGINAL: Trtworld