Just at a time when investors are having a tough time navigating with the Bitcoin volatility, a new Bitcoin scam worth $3.6 billion has reportedly come to the surface in South Africa. Two African brothers and founders of the Cape Town-based crypto investment platform Africrypt have suddenly disappeared out of nowhere.
As reported by local publication Independent Online, the two directors of Africrypt – Ameer Cajee and his brother Raees Cajee – 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 two investors then claimed that there’s been a breach of Africrypt’s payment systems and requested customers not to report the missing funds to the police. In nutshell, the two brothers compromised client wallets, accounts, and nodes completely.
The report notes that Hanekom Attorneys are currently investigating the matter. While unable to trace the Africrypt founders, they have further notified the matter to South Africa’s priority crime investigation unit, The Hawks. As per the investigation, the African employees lost access to the back-end platforms seven days before the hack.
South Africa’s FNB Bank Allegedly Enabled Transactions
As per the publication, 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.
Also, one of the topmost financial regulators in the country – the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) – has said that the matter is currently out of its jurisdictions. Reportedly, the view of the FSCA was that there were no financial products and services provided by Africrypt.
While tracing the fund transfer through an independent investigation, The Independent Online reported that both the Cajee brothers have fled to the U.K. Before the alleged hack, an account transfer was done to the U.K.
Hanekom Attorney’s founder Darren Hanekom said that upon further investigation they found that the funds were linked to the dark web mixers and tumblers. The Hanekom attorney’s representing the defrauded investors noted:
“We were contacted by investors shortly after the Africrypt announcement and immediately became suspicious as the announcement implored investors not to take legal action.
In taking the matter forward, we requested our clients to provide copies of all relevant correspondence, their cryptocurrency wallet addresses and proof of payments.”