Fugitive Turkish Cryptocurrency Businessman Arrested in Albania

Elbasan prosecutor Kreshnik Ajazi confirmed to BIRN on Tuesday that fugitive Turkish Faruk Fatih Ozer, suspected of staging a massive cryptocurrency scam, is being held in the Albanian city, saying that "he was arrested today in Elbasan".

Ajazi added that Ozer will face a court hearing in the coming days, at which the "security measure" of 40 days in custody will be decided upon, and after that the process of extradition to Turkey will start.

Ozer is accused of creating a criminal organisation and committing fraud in Turkey, where he founded and ran cryptocurrency exchange platform Thodex.

Turkey's Justice Ministry announced in 2021 that it had secured an Interpol 'red notice' calling for Ozer's arrest for allegedly participating in the country's largest-ever fraud, worth some $2 billion (two billion euros).

Ozer repeatedly denied the claims on social media and pledged to return to Turkey but instead remained on the run in Albania holding the $2 billion worth of digital assets that belong to around 700,000 people.

In last years, people in Turkey have flocked to cryptocurrency schemes amid a steep fall in the value of the Turkish lira and high inflation, causing a boom in the crypto market.

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