Faruk Fatih Özer, the former CEO of collapsed cryptocurrency exchange Thodex, was extradited from Albania to Turkey, where he was immediately detained at İstanbul Airport on Thursday, Bloomberg reported, citing the state-run Anadolu news agency.
Özer, 29, who once boasted of being a high-school dropout, is facing charges of managing a criminal organization, aggravated fraud and money laundering.
Thodex abruptly halted operations about two years ago, leaving tens of thousands of customers with losses. Özer had disappeared following the collapse of the platform, but was arrested in Albania in August 2022 after Turkey issued an INTERPOL Red Notice for him. Earlier this month Albania’s top court ruled for his extradition, ending his legal battle against deportation.
The total losses incurred by investors when Thodex imploded are still unclear. The prosecutor’s initial indictment estimated the losses to be around $24 million, but Turkish media have reported figures as high as $2 billion. According to Chainalysis, the value of cryptocurrency lost at Thodex earlier this year was $2.6 billion, making it the largest “rug pull” of 2021.