Thodex Founder Extradited After Fleeing with $2 Billion

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  • The founder of Turkish exchange Thodex has been extradited back to Turkey to face criminal charges
  • Faruk Fatih Özer fled with access to $2 billion of user funds when the exchange abruptly shut down in April 2021
  • Özer managed to stay hidden for a year until he was found in Albania

The founder of former Turkish exchange Thodex has been extradited back to his home country having fled two years ago with around $2 billion in funds from the company. Founder and CEO Faruk Fatih Özer was arrested in Albania last year, since when Turkey has been trying to bring him home to face justice. Their efforts have succeeded following an eight-month battle, and Özer has arrived back in his homeland, where he was arrested by police waiting for him at Istanbul Airport.

$2 Billion in User Funds Gone

Thodex was a reputable and well-known exchange in Turkey with almost 400,000 users, but it failed to come back online following unplanned maintenance in April 2021. Customers were not initially worried, but concern grew as the exchange remained offline. Turkish police confirmed growing fears in the days after the maintenance was announced, revealing that Özer had fled the country and may have had access to as much as $2 billion of users’ funds.

Following the incident, 83 individuals linked to Thodex were apprehended, among them Özer’s siblings, two of which were among six jailed a month after the scandal. An international request warrant and Interpol red notice were issued for Özer, who was found in the city of Vlora, and his identity was confirmed via biometric data.

Turkey Gets Its Man

Turkey began extradition proceedings shortly afterwards and, following Özer’s failed attempts at fighting it, he arrived back in Turkey over the weekend. The charges against Özer and his cohorts primarily revolve around allegations of fraud and money laundering, with authorities claiming that the damages caused by their actions amount to over 350 million Turkish liras, which is nearly equivalent to $20 million.