Friday 23 April 2021 9:17 am

Bitcoin crackdown: Crypto exchange owner flees Turkey as police arrest 62 traders

Turkish police have detained 62 people in an investigation into a cryptocurrency trading platform.

The arrests came after thousands of Turks complained of being scammed, according to media reports in the country today.

Istanbul police said the firm’s founder and CEO, Faruk Fatih Ozer, had flown to the Albanian capital Tirana on Tuesday.

The Thodex cryptocurrency trading platform, which had been handling daily trade worth hundreds of millions of dollars, said on Thursday it would be closed for up to five days due to a sale process.

However, users who have not been able to withdraw money or access their accounts voiced concerns on Twitter that they may have been defrauded.

Prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 78 people and 62 had so far been detained in an operation stretching across eight Turkish provinces.

Thodex said “negative” media reports were untrue, and that banks and funds wanted to invest in the company and had proposed a partnership.

Last week, Turkey banned the use of crypto assets for payments, adding to factors that sent bitcoin down 14 per cent at the weekend.

Turkey’s central bank cited “irreparable” damage and transaction risks as reasons for the ban.