Thodex customers lost around $108 million: Minister

Thodex customers lost around $108 million: Minister

Thodex customers lost around $108 million: Minister

The total assets allegedly seized by a runaway cryptocurrency exchange platform founder in Turkey amount to around $108 million, according to the Turkish interior minister.

Thodex founder Faruk Fatih Özer fled to Albania after the crypto platform abruptly shut down on April 19, effectively obstructing control of nearly 400,000 customer accounts.

According to some local media reports based on remarks from lawyers defending the customers, the total amount of digital money defrauded by the Thodex founder could reach $2 billion.

“I insisted to call legal experts [to examine the company accounts],” Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said in an interview with a private Turkish broadcaster on April 28.

“They told us that the portfolio assets amounted to around $108 million,” he said, adding that other figures, which were far higher, correspond to the trading volumes of the platform.

Özer denied claims in a statement on the company’s website on April 22, saying that only 31,000 customers were eligible for repayments.

More than 70 people were detained as part of an investigation into the company. Most of the detainees were later released.

The founder and three employees of Vebitcoin, another Turkish crypto exchange platform, were also detained by police after it halted operations on April 23. Vebitcoin Founder İlker Baş, his wife and two employees were arrested on April 26.

The inflation rate passed 16 percent in Turkey in March, at the time when seven-week crypto trading volumes hit 218 billion Turkish Liras ($27 billion), up from just over 7 billion liras in the same period a year earlier, according to data from U.S. researcher Chainalysis.

Around 40 cryptocurrency exchange platforms are operating in Turkey.

On April 16, the Turkish Central Bank decided to ban the use of cryptocurrencies in payments for goods and services starting from today. It warned that cryptos “entail significant risks” because the market is volatile and lacks oversight.