Around 69,000 Bitcoin has vanished from a South African investment platform, Africrypt, along with two brothers who owned the crypto firm.
Africrypt Founders Took $3.6 Billion
A new Bitcoin scam involving the disappearance of $3.6 billion has surfaced in South Africa, just as investors are having a difficult time managing the Bitcoin volatility. Two brothers, the founders of Africrypt, a crypto investment company in Cape Town, South Africa, have mysteriously vanished.
Although the facts have yet to be confirmed in court, Bloomberg reports that if it turns out to be an exit scam rather than a hack, it would be the largest in history. There were red flags for investors in either case, with users purportedly promised daily returns of up to 10%.
AfriCrypt was formed in 2019 by brothers Ameer and Raees Cajee and was run by them. When it delivered a message to investors on April 13 alleging the platform had been hacked, it had absconded with roughly 54 billion rands worth of BTC, or $3.6 billion USD at the time.
As reported, the brothers transferred Africrypt’s pooled from the platform’s South African account. They pooled these funds using Bitcoin on the blockchain and interestingly it all started in April 2021 when Bitcoin (BTC) was trading at its all-time high above $60,000.
The firm said it would halt operations while it began the process of “attempting to retrieve stolen funds and compromised information.”
South African law firm Hanekom Attorneys, which has taken the case on behalf of affected users, said suspicions were aroused as the message included the warning that: “clients may proceed the legal route, but we ask clients to please acknowledge that this will only delay the recovery process.”
“We were immediately suspicious as the announcement implored investors not to take legal action,” Hanekom Attorneys said. The law firm also claimed that “Africrypt employees lost access to the back-end platforms seven days before the alleged hack.”
According to Hanekom Attorneys, the brothers transferred 69,000 BTC from AfriCrypt’s accounts and customer wallets, and then subjected the monies to “different dark web tumblers and mixers, resulting in extreme fragmentation” to make the assets untraceable.
South Africa’s Gauteng South High Court has granted a provisional liquidation order against the Cajee brothers, and they have been given until July 19 2021 to respond to the order. The law firm has reported the case to an elite unit of the national police called the “Hawks.”
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South Africa’s FNB Bank Allegedly Enabled Transactions
According to African online crypto news outlet BitcoinKe, AfriCrypt drew in clients by targeting high net worth investors and urging them to refer their friends, while also offering returns of up to 10% daily.
According to earlier reports, South Africa’s FNB Bank enabled all transactions for the crypto investment platform Africrypt. However, FNB spokesperson Nadiah Maharaj has refused any kind of relation with Africrypt.
“FNB once again confirms that it does not have a banking relationship with Africrypt. Due to client confidentiality, FNB cannot provide any information on specific bank accounts,” Maharaj said.
The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), one of the country’s major financial regulators, has also stated that the case is now outside of its jurisdiction. According to reports, the FSCA believes Africrypt does not provide any financial goods or services.
While conducting an independent investigation into the fund transfer, The Independent Online claimed that both Cajee brothers have fled to the United Kingdom. An account transfer to the United Kingdom was made prior to the alleged hack.
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