Fugitive Crypto Exchange Founder Faruk Ozer Extradited to Turkey
Albania has extradited the founder of Turkish cryptocurrency exchange Thodex to his home country where he is charged with defrauding investors. The crypto entrepreneur disappeared after his trading platform unexpectedly went offline in the spring of 2021 and was arrested last year by Albanian law enforcement.
Albania Hands Over Alleged Crypto Fraudster to Turkish Authorities
Faruk Fatih Ozer, founder and CEO of failed crypto exchange Thodex, was extradited to Turkey by the Albanian Ministry of Justice acting on the order of the country’s Supreme Court. A plane carrying Ozer landed in Istanbul on Thursday morning, Turkish media informed.
According to a report by the Anadolu Agency, the Istanbul Airport Police Department took custody of Ozer on arrival. The 27-year-old man was then taken to a police station and is expected to undergo a health checkup.
Ozer fled Turkey after the sudden collapse of Thodex two years ago. The exchange had attracted around 400,000 users during the crypto boom in the country. He was last seen on footage from Istanbul Airport and was believed to have left for Albania with a reported $2 billion of investor money.
Turkey issued an international arrest warrant for the chief executive of Thodex in April 2021 and he was wanted with a red notice by Interpol. Ozer has been fighting his detention in Albanian courts since his arrest on Aug. 30, 2022.
The Elbasan Court of First Instance extended his detention on Sept. 2 and the Durres Court of Appeals upheld the decision on Sept. 20. In November, The Elbasan court authorized his extradition to Turkey, which was later approved by the Supreme Court in Tirana.
Turkish authorities have charged 21 people in connection with the exchange out of over 60 detained during the investigation. Prosecutors seek prison sentences totaling thousands of years for the founders and executives accused of committing fraud and money laundering while pulling an exit scam.
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