The detention period for eight suspects in the fraud investigation into the cryptocurrency ex-change platform Thodex has been extended.
The detained suspects include Thodex founder Faruk Fatih Özer’s sister and brother. Some 60 other suspects were released by a court in Istanbul earlier.
Özer, who is accused of shutting down the platform on April 19 and effectively seizing cryptocurrency codes of nearly 400,000 customers, fled to Albania, according to the Interior Ministry.
In a manhunt conducted by Turkish and Albanian police officers in Albania, two people were detained on April 27 with charges of assisting Özer.
The prosecutor’s office in Istanbul has issued warrants for three other suspects.
The total amount of digital money defrauded by the Thodex founder can reach $2 billion, according to local media reports based on remarks from lawyers defending the customers.
Özer denied claims in a statement on the company’s website, saying that only 31,000 customers were eligible for repayments.
The founder and three employees of Vebitcoin, another Turkish crypto exchange platform, were also detained by police after it halted operations on April 23. Vebitcoin Founder İlker Baş, his wife and two employees were arrested on April 26.
The inflation rate passed 16 percent in Turkey in March, at the time when seven-week crypto trading volumes hit 218 billion liras ($27 billion), up from just over 7 billion liras in the same period a year earlier, according to data from U.S. researcher Chainalysis.
Hurriyet Daily News