Dozens arrested amid Turkish cryptocurrency fraud investigation
Turkish police have detained 62 people as part of an investigation into a cryptocurrency exchange which is accused of defrauding investors, according to reports.
The state-run Anadolu news agency said prosecutors issued detention warrants for 16 more people linked to the Thodex cryptocurrency exchange and said the detentions took place in eight provinces.
On Thursday, Istanbul’s chief prosecutor’s office announced it was probing Thodex following complaints from users who could not access their assets.
It is thought to have affected some 391,000 investors and an estimated £1.44 billion in investments.
Thodex owner Faruk Fatih Ozer denied the allegations in a statement on Twitter, and said the company is being targeted by a smear campaign.
He said Thodex temporarily shut down trading after accounts showed unusual activity due to a cyber attack.
Mr Ozer also said claims that the money had disappeared are untrue.
Turkish media reports said Mr Ozer had left the country for Albania earlier this week.
Mr Ozer confirmed this, but claimed the trip had been arranged to meet foreign investors.
Last week, Turkey’s central bank announced that it was banning the use of cryptocurrencies for the payment for goods, arguing that they presented “irrevocable” risks.
The decision came as many in Turkey have turned to cryptocurrencies to shield their savings from rising inflation and the Turkish currency’s slump.