$3.6B worth of Bitcoin vanishes along with owners of South African crypto platform
Nearly 69,000 Bitcoin has vanished from a South African investment platform along with two brothers who owned the crypto firm.
The facts over the matter are yet to be proven in court, if it turns to be an exit scam rather than a hack, it would be the biggest scam in crypto history. There were warning signs for investors either way, with users reportedly promised returns of up to 10% a day.
AfriCrypt was founded in 2019 and operated by brothers Ameer and Raees Cajee. It had reportedly amassed around 54 billion rands worth of BTC, approximately $3.6 billion, when it sent a message to investors on April 13 claiming the platform has been hacked. 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.”
Hanekom Attorneys alleges that the brothers transferred the 69,000 BTC, worth $2.2 billion as of recent price, from AfriCrypt’s accounts and client wallets, and subjected the funds “to various dark web tumblers and mixers, resulting in severe fragmentation” to make the funds untraceable.
The Cajee brothers have been unreachable, with calls going directly to voicemail and the AfriCrypt official website is also down. The law firm has reported the case to an elite unit of the national police dubbed the “Hawks.”
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.