Theodex founders facing extradition are headed back to Turkey to face trial

Albanian authorities have ordered the extradition of the fugitive founder of Thodex crypto exchange back to Turkey.

An Elbasan court decided that Farouk Fatih Ozer, founder of crypto exchange Thodex, will return to Turkey to face justice. The 27-year-old is accused of absconding with users’ funds after he reported being unable to withdraw them last year.

In August, the authorities of Vlorë managed to capture Özer. The fugitive crypto exchange founder had been at large for over a year at this point.

The Court of First Instance of Elbasan determined that Ozer should remain in detention in September. Although his lawyers soon appealed, the Court of Appeal in Durres, Albania’s second largest city, upheld the order.

Now after several hearings during October and November, the court has given its decision of extradition. Ozar’s lawyers have 15 days to appeal the decision to the Duress Court of Appeals.

The Thodex Scandal and the Missing $2B

Last year, Thodex users said they were unable to withdraw hundreds of millions of dollars in cryptocurrencies from the exchange. Several users quickly found legal representation and filed fraudulent complaints against the exchange and its executives.

In response, the exchange announced a temporary closure due to “unusual fluctuations in company accounts”. However, Ozer, which was unresponsive, reportedly fled the country with $2 billion in user funds. Initial reports indicated that he had possibly made his way to Albania.

Turkish authorities subsequently issued an international arrest warrant for Ozer, accusing him of fraud and establishing a criminal organization. Following this, the Interpol had issued a red notice for the Thodex founder in April this year.

Turkish authorities last year arrested 68 suspects, including Ozer’s siblings, as part of their investigation into Theodex. Some 21 defendants could potentially face sentences of up to 40,564 years.

Turkish officials investigating FTX

Meanwhile, as Turkish authorities conclude one case of crypto fraud, they face another on a massive scale. Turkey’s Financial Crimes Investigation Agency said earlier this week it is probing FTX and its operations within the country.

Within the scope of its duties, the agency said, it is “analyzing and investigating the activities of these obligated parties.” These may include people, institutions, banks and crypto service providers related to FTX, including the local subsidiary FTX Turkey.

It adds Turkey to a growing list of national authorities investigating FTX’s actions since its collapse and bankruptcy.


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