Turkey-based bitcoin (BTC) and cryptocurrency exchange Thodex is being investigated by local prosecutors for an alleged case of crowd scam. The exchange house suspended operations 48 hours ago and since then users have not been able to carry out transactions with their funds.
Turkish local media said on April 22 that the founder of the startup , Faruk Fatih Özer, left the country for Tirana, the capital of Albania. The executive is now being singled out for allegedly appropriating hundreds of millions of dollars in cryptocurrencies.
Thodex offices in Istanbul were raided by the cybercrime police to continue their investigations . Preliminary estimates indicate that almost 400,000 users would be affected by the stoppage, since they cannot withdraw or deposit cryptocurrencies.
“There was a decrease in assets at Thodex. When many users demanded their money back, the company was unable to satisfy them. It is a liquidity problem, “said Oguz Basibuyuk, a lawyer for the company quoted by Bloomberg.
Another version indicates that the company stopped operations due to a new partnership that it would have established with an external investor. The stoppage would be for five days while the supposed new shareholding is completed.
Thodex CEO says he will return
At the same time that users were formalizing their complaints with the authorities, Fatih Özer issued a public statement in which he confirmed that he was out of Turkey for business meetings , but that he would “return”. The CEO affirmed that the accusations against him are unfounded and that only 30,000 of almost 700,000 users are those who would be presenting problems.
“I declare that I will return to Turkey in a few days to ensure that the truth is revealed in cooperation with the judicial authorities and that I will do everything possible to avoid victimization of users,” said Fatih Özer, who stressed that he will pay all the funds from the users.
Turkey bans the use of bitcoin
The situation with Thodex occurs just days after the Central Bank of Turkey banned the use of bitcoin and any other cryptocurrency in the country. The institution issued a statement restricting the use of the cryptoactive for the payment of products and services , as reported by CriptoNoticias.
Turkish citizens and investors have turned to bitcoin as a safe haven alternative to the devaluation of the lira, the national currency . In addition, according to a survey released in June 2019, it was reported that the country was leading the adoption of BTC, on a global scale, with 20% of its inhabitants trading bitcoins.
Thodex is a centralized exchange that handles a daily volume of about $ 600 million, according to figures from CoinMarketCap (CMC). The platform processes operations with 23 cryptocurrencies with the DOGE / TRY pair as the most demanded by users. CMC also has not registered transactions in the exchange house for two days.