The founder and former CEO of the defunct Thodex crypto exchange was extradited to Turkey and detained by police upon arrival in Istanbul.
Farouk Fatih Ozer, who founded Thodex in 2017, was arrested in Albania last year after Interpol issued a red notice against him, according to a report on Thursday state AA.com media.
The report states that the plane Ozer was on board departed from the Albanian capital of Tirana in the morning and landed at Istanbul Airport, where the Istanbul Airport Police Department took Ozer into custody.
The arrested founder is expected to be examined and then taken to the Istanbul Police Department.
In April 2021, Thodex suddenly stopped trade by referring to an unspecified partner transaction.
Thodex said on its website that it will be closed for four to five days in connection with the sale process.
However, users of the platform became worried after they were unable to access their accounts or withdraw their money, prompting them to file complaints.
Turkish prosecutors subsequently issued arrest warrants for 78 people involved in the exchange, 62 of whom were detained across the country.
The effort was focused on Istanbul but covered eight provinces.
Abdullah Osame Tseran, the lawyer who filed the criminal case against the platform’s founder, said Thodex had 400,000 members at the time, of which 390,000 were active.
Last August, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Turkey reported that the Albanian police arrested Fatih Ozer and started the process of his extradition to Turkey.
Ozer allegedly fled Turkey with at least $2 billion worth of cryptocurrency stolen from Thodex. He is wanted on charges of fraud and the creation of a criminal organization.
In April 2021, the Lake was issued a red notice.
Crypto is booming in Turkey amid soaring inflation
Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology have grown in popularity in Turkey over the past few years.
Turkish crypto exchange Paribu’s 2022 research report estimates that at least 8 million people are involved in crypto in Turkey.
Skyrocketing inflation in the country and a sharp devaluation of the lira further encouraged the introduction of digital currencies.
In October last year, the inflation rate in Turkey was 85.51%, the highest rate in the last 24 years.
“Crypto is essentially a savior for many people here, both financially and psychologically,” Vidal Arditi, founder of Istanbul-based Layka DAO and Lunapark Web3 Hub, said in the report.
In Chainalysis’ Global Cryptocurrency Adoption Index for 2022, Turkey ranked 12th, beating out other major economies such as the United Kingdom and Indonesia.