ANKARA: Turkish police detained 62 people in an investigation by a cryptocurrency trading platform provider, the state news agency Anadolu said on Friday after thousands of Turks filed criminal lawsuits saying they had been cheated.
The cryptocurrency trading platform Thodex, which handled hundreds of millions of dollars worth of daily cryptocurrency transactions, said on its website on Thursday that it would be closed for four to five days due to a sale process.
But users who were unable to withdraw money or access their accounts expressed concern on Twitter that they may have been rigged, comments widely captured by Turkish media.
Prosecutors have issued arrest warrants for 78 people and 62 have so far been detained in an operation centered in Istanbul but spanning eight provinces, Anadolu said.
Istanbul police said the company’s founder and CEO, Faruk Fatih Ozer, flew to Tirana, the capital of Albania, on Tuesday.
An Istanbul prosecutor’s office said on Thursday that it had launched an investigation into Thodex over allegations that the platform had led to “injury to many citizens”. Turkey’s financial crime investigation board, MASAK, blocked the company’s accounts on Wednesday and opened an investigation, a MASAK source said.
Thodex said the “negative” media reports on the subject were false and that banks and funds – which it would later identify – wanted to invest in the company and proposed a partnership.
The 24-hour trading volume at Thodex was $ 538 million on its last trading day, according to Coinmarketcap.
Last week, Turkey banned the use of cryptographic assets for payments, increasing the factors that caused bitcoin to fall 14% over the weekend. Turkey’s central bank cited “irreparable” damage and transaction risks as reasons for the ban.