The creators of the South African AfriCrypt stole 69,000 BTC from investors
The founders of the South African cryptocurrency platform AfriCrypt were accused of fraud, as 69,000 bitcoins "disappeared" with their disappearance.
The platform was created back in 2019 and promised “insane returns” to all of its investors. However, their hopes for a luxurious life were not destined to come true. In April of this year, there was a suspicious "hack" of the platform worth more than $4 billion. Then one of the owners of AfriCrypt reported the hacker attack and asked not to report the incident to the authorities, citing a lengthy recovery process if local law enforcement agencies were “connected”.
Clients, naturally, were not satisfied with this state of affairs and began to have suspicions about possible fraud on the part of the team. In addition, it was alarming that AfriCrypt's official announcement of the hack included a request not to initiate legal action against the platform. In mid-April, the company announced the forced closure of the service. Do I need to clarify that no one received any previously invested funds or compensation for damage?
In the course of a detailed legal investigation, advocates from Hanekom found out that funds invested by the platform's clients were being transferred from official AfriCrypt accounts to various cryptocurrency mixers in an attempt to “cover their tracks”.
The funds stolen during the “hacking” are currently estimated at $2.3 billion, while at the time of the peak value of Bitcoin, their amount exceeded 4.4 billion. Even more surprising is that just a couple of months before what happened to AfriCrypt, another South African firm, Mirror Trading, robbed its clients of $1.2 billion, or 29,000 bitcoins at that time.
The latest Bloomberg report on the case indicated that founders brothers Amir and Reis Cage went into hiding, transferring investor funds from FNB accounts in Johannesburg and headed to the UK, "disappearing from radar".
South African law enforcement agencies have already responded to the incident, saying that the brothers are wanted by a special unit of the local police "Hawks", which is involved in large-scale investigations related to organized and economic crime. However, the situation is slightly complicated by the lack of a clear regulatory framework in South Africa, where digital currencies are still not considered a financial product.