Four Arrested After Another Crypto Exchange Goes Dark in Turkey

The platform had nearly $60 million in daily trading volumes before it went offline.
Derya Ozdemir
Illustration of a Bitcoin on the hookVelishchuk/iStock

April hasn't been a kind month for cryptocurrencies in Turkey: Turkish authorities have now announced four people linked to the cryptocurrency platform Vebitcoin have been arrested on Saturday, after the company abruptly announced it stopped operations the day before, citing financial strains, Reuters reports.

Vebitcoin stated its reasoning was "to fulfill all regulations and claims." It was not immediately clear how many crypto users had been affected. Vebitcoin had almost $60 million in daily trading volume in the days leading to its collapse, per CoinGecko, as cited by CNBC.

"Due to the recent developments in the crypto money industry, there was a much higher density in our operations than expected," Vebitcoin announced on its website. "We would like to state with regret that this situation has led us to a very difficult process."

The Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK) blocked Vebitcoin's domestic bank accounts and launched an investigation. The four arrested were administrators and personnel of the platform, Reuters reported, citing a statement from a local prosecutor.  

The cryptocurrency scene in Turkey

Meanwhile, Vebitcoin is the second crypto platform in a week to go offline. Earlier this week, Thodex platform shut down on April 18, holding investments from nearly 400,000 users, and its CEO, Faruk Fatih Özer, who is accused of "aggravated fraud and founding a criminal organization", has fled to Albania with an alleged $2bn (£1.4bn) from the users.

Turkish police have now arrested 62 people in connection with the platform, and the CEO calls the allegations "baseless." According to a statement shared by Özer, he left for Albania to attend "work meetings."

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As the value of the local currency, the lira, declines, an increasing number of Turkish people started leaning towards cryptocurrencies. The news of the two platforms going down in a week comes following Turkey's ban on the use of digital assets for payments from April 30. On the other hand, the government of India appears to be moving towards banning cryptocurrency completely

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