Surprise shutdown of Turkish exchange shocks entire ecosystem. Thodex suddenly canceled its activity and its CEO fled the country.
A few days after the Government of Turkey announced a ban on cryptocurrencies as a payment method as of April 30 , the crypto community was shocked by what appears to be one of the biggest scams in history. The Thodex exchange , which has nearly 400,000 clients in the country, saw its service drop suddenly .
Although the firm issued a statement explaining that it would remain closed for five business days, the scandal erupted after its CEO, Faruk Fatih Ozer , fled the country with 2 billion dollars and thousands of debts with his investors . Users have already contacted lawyers and filed a complaint with the Justice.
The closure of the platform has left the remaining assets of some 390,000 active users unrecoverable.
Local news agencies reported that an Istanbul prosecutor has started an investigation after what happened and Thodex offices have already been intervened by local police. According to Thodex’s lawyer, Bedirhan Oguz Basibuyuk , Ozer made the decision to escape because he knew he was going to be arrested and could have taken his own life .
As explained by the lawyer, the situation was triggered by a liquidity problem. “There was a decrease in Thodex assets. When too many users demanded that their money be returned, the company was unable to satisfy them, “he explained.
In a new report published after public knowledge of the situation, the exchange acknowledged that it was not able to return the money while its CEO is out of the country . Although the outlook is not encouraging for investors, Ozer made statements from his exile and assured that he has no criminal intentions and that he will try to return the money.
“As of today, my only goal is to pay my debt to you. The day I pay all my debt, I will return to my country and I will surrender myself to Justice ” , assured the businessman in a message addressed to his clients.