Nearly 400,000 users of a Turkish cryptocurrency exchange were left out of their accounts without being able to withdraw their funds. The platform’s website has been down for several days, while reports suggest its CEO has already fled the country with up to $2 billion.
Turkish Exchange Does a Rug Pull?
Bloomberg reported yesterday that Thodex, a Turkey-based crypto exchange, has ceased trading, citing an “unspecified partnership transaction.” The founded in 2017 trading platform issued a statement explaining that all services will remain shut down for about five working days. However, the message reassured customers that they shouldn’t worry about their funds.
Approximately at the same time, though, users started to complain about their inability to access their own assets. Some took it to Twitter to exemplify the absurdity of the situation.
A local #Crypto exchange where I’d ~20% of my entire trading capital got rug pulled
-20 days no withdrawal (fiat & crypto)
-Then the website went offline
-Then the CEO run abroad
I’m not broke, but it hurts… Alot
It sucks, Even when u deal with regulated exchanges#Thodex
— Feras_Crypto (will Never DM you First) (@FeraSY1) April 21, 2021
More recent coverages asserted that the exchange’s chief executive officer and founder, Faruk Fatih Ozer, who refrained answering comments before, had fled the country.
Users Alleging of Fraud
Upon the news of Ozer’s alleged escape from Turkey, users of the local exchange hired a law firm to file a complaint against Thodex. Oguz Evren Kilic, representing an unspecified number of Thodex customers, confirmed the development, saying, “we have filed a legal complaint on Wednesday.”
He speculated that the funds on the Turkish exchange could be worth “hundreds of millions of dollars,” keeping in mind that the user base is just shy of 400,000. A prosecutor in Istanbul has reportedly launched an investigation.
According to another report, Thodex’s CEO and founder has run away in Thailand with an estimated amount of roughly $2 billion.
It’s worth noting that Turkish authorities have already taken a steep approach towards the cryptocurrency industry. CryptoPotato informed last week of the country’s latest rule on digital assets, banning users from using them as payment instruments from April 30th.