Founder of Crypto Exchange Finally Arrested for Stealing $2 billion After a Year Long Manhunt
Usually, there’s news of a crypto scam every other day, but given the complexities around regulation in the field, scammers are usually able to get away. But not when you have robbed people of an astounding $2 billion, and a sovereign nation launches a global manhunt to find you.
This would be the story of 28-year-old Faruk Fatih Özer, who ran the Turkey crypto exchange service Thodex. Özer was recently arrested from Albania for an exit scam which affected over 391,000 depositors. Albanian police also confirmed the arrest, stating that Özer was arrested this Tuesday from a hotel in Himara, which is a small town in southern Albania.
Turkey has an extradition treaty with the United States, and the authorities there have already started the process. Although it might take some time as extraditions are usually very drawn out, involving many institutions including the Justice Department, the court, and the secretary of state.
Minister of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Albania, Mr. Bledar Chuchi today in the morning, our Minister, Mr. He conveyed to Süleyman Soylu that the fugitive Faruk Fatih Özer, the founder of Thodex, sought by a red notice, was caught in Vlore, Albania, and his identity was confirmed by biometric results. The extradition proceedings of Fatih Özer to Turkey were initiated by the Interpol Department of the General Directorate of Security.
– Turkish Regulators
The Thodex Scam
Just before closing down, Thodex held a promotional campaign where they stated that they will distribute up to 2 million dogecoins (150 each) to users who sign up on their service.
Soon after the promotional campaign, users started to face some disruptions in their transactions. Thodex blamed it on a cyber attack at that point, and operations were halted completely.
They soon issued a statement, promising users that they would restart the service in 4-5 days, and that some ‘big banks’ were interested in investing in Thodex. Meanwhile, CEO at that time, Faruk Fatih Özer fled with the entire corpus of $2 billion, to Tirana in Albania.
After many complaints, Turkish prosecutors started their investigation into the company, but soon realised that Özer had fled from Turkey by then.