$ 2 billion crypto scam: Turkish Thodex exchange goes silent, sparks outcry from users
Hundreds of thousands of users of a Turkish cryptocurrency exchange, Thodex, were unable to access their digital assets after the trading platform abruptly halted trading on Wednesday, sparking allegations of fraud and thousands of criminal complaints.
Thedox released a statement on its website Thursday saying it would be closed for four to five days due to a sale process.
“The services will remain closed for approximately five business days while the share transfer is complete, but users don’t have to worry about their investments,” he said.
Before the so-called explanation, the negotiation was the first interruption of “six hours of planned maintenance”.
But users who weren’t able to withdraw their money or access their accounts have taken to Twitter for concern that they’ve been scammed.
In business since 2017, Thodex said the “negative” media reports about the company were not true. “The world famous banks and funds, whose names we will announce when the deal process is complete, wanted to invest in our company and had long proposed a partnership,” he said.
“For this process to be completed, transactions must be halted and the sales process must be completed.”
Still, a preliminary police assessment showed Thodex CEO Faruk Fatih Özer had left the country from Istanbul airport on Tuesday afternoon. He reportedly fled to Thailand with $ 2 billion in digital assets. His closure of all of his social media accounts has also fueled speculation about the fraud allegations.
Turkish security forces and the persecutors immediately took steps to investigate the case, which left at least 390,000 users without access to transact or withdraw their money. The Istanbul Security Directorate’s anti-cybercrime unit conducted a search of the stock exchange’s physical office located in the Kadıköy district on the Anatolian side of the city.
Istanbul’s Anatolian Public Prosecutor’s Office announced on Thursday that it had opened an investigation against Thodex.
The statement made by the Attorney General’s office noted that it had “opened an investigation into the cryptocurrency exchange called Thodex and the alleged victimization of many citizens, and regarding the determination of acts which constitute a crime within the framework of the aforementioned system and the legal intervention of the perpetrators ”, ensuring that the investigations are carried out meticulously.
Meanwhile, Abdullah Üsame Ceran, a lawyer, filed a criminal complaint against Özer, alleging “aggravated fraud”.
Ceran pointed out that the platform has 400,000 members, of which 390,000 are active in trading, and noted that the platform is currently close to withdrawal transactions.
He also said there were allegations on social media platforms that Özer left Turkey on April 20 via Istanbul Airport.
As part of the complaint, the seizure of the platform’s assets, including vehicles, bank accounts, assets and stocks, was requested.
2 million Dogecoin
The number of investors using the exchange has grown rapidly after announcing more recently that it would distribute 2 million Dogecoin, a digital asset that was initially put on the market “ as a joke ” but which then saw its value increased. by prominent name declarations. like Tesla boss Elon Musk. We know that the platform has also launched “such campaigns”, including distributing luxury vehicles by drawing names.
The website suspension sparked an immediate outcry from users of the exchange, where daily trading volume tripled to over $ 1.2 billion (TL 9.92 billion) from last Friday. in just one week, according to data released by coingecko.com, which tracks the data. on price, volume and market capitalization in the crypto markets.
Lawyer Oğuz Evren Kılıç said he was contacted by users on Wednesday and filed a criminal complaint on behalf of several people in Ankara. He said thousands more had also filed complaints across the country. “It is not known where this is going. There have been thousands of criminal complaints filed in many places around Turkey,” he told Reuters, adding that the platform has 400,000 users, including 391,000 were active.
Kılıç added that a preliminary police assessment showed that the CEO of Thodex left the country from Istanbul airport on Tuesday afternoon.
“We will file a case with the consumer court right away. The two processes – the criminal complaints and the case – will run simultaneously,” Kılıç said.
Users have claimed that Özer may have taken their money used to trade on the platform with him when he left the country.
24-hour trading volume on Thodex was $ 538 million on its last day of trading, according to Coinmarketcap.
In addition to the thousands of people who flocked to the exchange’s Twitter account, dozens of other complaints were filed on a popular online forum for consumer complaints, sikayetvar.com.
Saying that they only want to close their account or withdraw assets, many wrote that their investments are “blocked”.
The already growing boom in the Turkish crypto market has accelerated further in recent times, as investors have joined a global Bitcoin rally, hoping to both profit from the Bitcoin rally and hedge against it. inflation, which exceeded 16% in March.
Earlier this month, the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) said it was banning the use of cryptocurrencies and crypto-assets in payments for goods and services from April 30, citing that the level of anonymity behind digital tokens brings “irrevocable damage and significant transaction risks.
He said cryptocurrencies and other such digital assets based on distributed ledger technology cannot be used, directly or indirectly, as a payment instrument.
The ruling also prohibits companies that handle electronic payments and fund transfers from processing transactions involving cryptocurrency platforms.