Police identify more suspects in Thodex probe
The Turkish police have identified three more suspects in the Thodex cryptocurrency exchange platform fraud case, Demirören News Agency reported on May 17.
Those suspects include a software developer, a financial department employee and the wife of Thodex founder Faruk Fatih Özer’s older brother, the report said.
Özer fled to Albania after the Thodex website abruptly went offline on April 19, effectively preventing access to nearly 400,000 customer accounts.
According to the Turkish Interior Ministry, Özer has allegedly transferred cryptocurrency assets worth $108 million to unknown accounts.
Six suspects, including Özer’s brother Güven Özer, were jailed on April 30, pending trial.
Crypto assets of Thodex users - mostly on the Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple networks - were systematically transferred to accounts on global cryptocurrency exchange platform Binance, according to a report released by Turkish blockchain technology firm Coinoxs.
He added that some of the recipient “hot wallets” were previously reported for involvement in ransom crimes on the dark web.
“We have been deliberating on the possibility that the Thodex exchange platform was hacked by an organized crime gang,” Coinoxs founder Can Azizoğlu told Demirören News Agency.
The founder of Vebitcoin, İlker Baş, his wife and two employees were also arrested after it halted operations on April 23. Baş was accused of making fraudulent XRP altcoin transactions worth over $24 million from customer accounts to other accounts in a month.
The Turkish Central Bank, the Treasury and Finance Ministry and financial watchdogs are expected to finalize a regulation package for the cryptocurrency market in the upcoming days.
The Central Bank’s ban on using cryptocurrencies for making payments, which was introduced in response to claims that such transactions are too risky, took effect on April 30.
Turkey’s Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK) released a guide for crypto asset service providers on May 4. Under the guidelines, crypto exchange platforms are entitled to verify the identities of subscribers, to report suspicious transactions and high-volume trading. In a failure of fulfilling those obligations, crypto exchange companies will be fined by MASAK, and in the case of recurrence, their owners will face prosecution.