Turkey jails 6 in crypto probe including Thodex CEO’s siblings: courthouse

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – A Turkish court jailed pending trial six suspects late on Thursday as part of a probe into cryptocurrency trading platform Thodex, including the CEO’s siblings, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office said.

At least 83 people were detained over the past week as users of the platform said the company scammed them and blocked access to accounts and money withdrawals.

Upon Turkey’s request, Interpol issued a red notice for Thodex chief executive and founder Faruk Fatih Ozer, who had flown to Albania before news of the problems surfaced.

The six people formally arrested included Ozer’s brother and sister, as well as senior company employees, the spokeswoman for Istanbul’s Anadolu prosecutor’s office said.

Most of those detained over the past week have been released. Others, including seven on Thursday, were let go with judicial control measures.

The Thodex platform, which had been handling daily crypto trade worth hundreds of millions of dollars, said on its website last week it would be closed for four to five days due to a sale process.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said this week Turkey sent units to four countries to search for Ozer, including Albania.

“When he is caught with the red notice, we have extradition agreements with a large part of these countries. God willing he will be caught and he will be returned,” he said in a televised interview with broadcaster NTV.

Users and media reports had claimed Ozer could have run off with $2 billion but Soylu said the company’s portfolio totalled $108 million.

Separately on Monday, authorities jailed four people pending trial as part of an investigation into Vebitcoin, another cryptocurrency trading platform.

A ban on the use of crypto assets for payments, announced earlier this month, goes into effect on Friday. Turkey’s central bank cited “irreparable” damage and transaction risks as reasons for the ban.

(Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Jonathan Spicer)