Türkiye requests extradition of crypto boss from Albania

Türkiye requests extradition of crypto boss from Albania

Türkiye requests extradition of crypto boss from Albania

Türkiye has made an official request for the extradition of Faruk Fatih Özer, who was arrested by Albanian police for defrauding investors on his cryptocurrency platform, Thodex.

The 268-page indictment filed by Anatolian Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in Istanbul includes 21 defendants, including Özer, his brother, Güven Özer, and his sister, Serap Özer, and over 2,000 complainants.

A total of 356 million Turkish liras ($ 20 million) worth of loss occurred from the crimes committed by the cryptocurrency platform Koineks Technolocy Inc., known as Thodex.

In the indictment, 21 defendants are charged with “establishing and managing an organization for the purpose of committing a crime,” “fraud by using information systems, banks or credit institutions as a tool,” and “fraud of company executives and cooperative managers and crime of laundering property values ​​resulting from crime.”

A prison sentence of 40,564 years is sought for each of the 21 defendants.

The Istanbul-based Thodex exchange launched aggressive campaigns to lure investors. It first pledged to distribute luxury cars through a flashy advertising campaign featuring famous Turkish models.

But the exchange suspended trading in April 2021 after posting a suspicious message that said it needed five days to deal with an unspecified outside investment.

Two days after leaving Türkiye last year, Özer denounced the “baseless allegations” against him in a message posted on his company’s official Twitter account.

The businessman said he had gone abroad to meet investors. “I will return to Türkiye in a few days and cooperate with the judicial authorities so that the truth comes out,” he promised at the time.

The Interior Ministry announced on Aug. 30 that Özer was caught in Albania.

Tirana had informed Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu that Özer “was arrested in Vlora, Albania,” the ministry said. It added that “extradition procedures to Türkiye have been initiated.”

In recent years, the crypto sector has benefited from a vast infusion of cash due to easy money policies by the world’s biggest central banks.

However, rampant inflation has sparked tighter monetary policy across the globe, helping to send the industry crashing. Bitcoin has lost more than half its value since the beginning of the year.