The Turkish police arrested 62 people in an investigation by the local crypto exchange Thodex, which was accused of fraud.
The Turkish state news agency Anadolu reported the news on Friday. Prosecutors have issued arrest warrants against 78 people found to be in contact with Thodex, and 62 have so far been arrested in eight provinces.
The Turkish public prosecutor’s office started investigations against Thodex on Thursday after a lawyer named Abdullah Usame Ceran filed a criminal complaint against Thodex founder Fatih Faruk Oze for “serious fraud”.
Ceran claims Ozer fled Turkey and may have hundreds of millions of dollars stolen. According to the Turkish police, Ozer fled to Tirana in Albania.
Thodex abruptly stopped trading earlier this week. According to Ceran, the move affected the stock exchange’s 390,000 active traders.
Thodex’s website is currently down, but earlier this week the exchange reportedly closed temporarily to allow outside investment to “better serve customers” and that it would remain closed for five business days.
Thodex users were unable to withdraw funds or access their accounts and say they may have been scammed.
Meanwhile, the Turkish Financial Crime Investigation Commission MASAK has reportedly blocked Thodex’s bank accounts.
Ozer reportedly considered facing authorities or committed suicide before fleeing the country, but either option meant customer funds would never be retrieved. “So I decided to stay alive and fight, work and pay off my debt to you,” Ozer told Bloomberg. “The day I pay back all my debts, I will return to my country and face justice.”