Digital Assets: Africrypt, The South African Crypto Platform, Is Missing $3.6B In Bitcoin
Brothers Ameer and Raees Cajee, who set up Africrypt in 2019, have also vanished.
This is another instance when exchange founders have decamped with investors’ savings held on their platform as investments in crypto, this time in South Africa. Bloomberg reported that about 69,000 bitcoin worth $3.6 billion is missing from South African crypto investment platform Africrypt. Also untraceable are the Cajee brothers, who founded Africrypt in 2019. (Bloomberg)
Trouble in April
Investors’ antennae went on red alert when Africrypt Chief Operating Officer Ameer Cajee, the elder brother, admitted on April 13 that the company had been hacked.
Strangely, Cajee requested investors not to report the matter to the authorities as it would slow down the recovery of the missing bitcoin. Investors were aghast that their assets were missing at a time when bitcoin was making all-time-highs.
The brothers too apparently disappeared after issuing the notice.
Law firm Hanekom Attorneys were appointed to investigate the matter, and found that Africrypt employees lost access to the back-end platforms seven days before the alleged hack. They also smelt a rat in the Africrypt announcement that implored investors not to take legal steps.
In a huge red flag, the firm established that the assets siphoned off from Africrypt were routed through tumblers and mixers – or to other large pools of bitcoin – in a strategy to hide the funds’ trail.
The law firm could not trace the brothers and therefore reported the incident to the Hawks, an elite unit of the country’s police force.
Meanwhile, the Africrypt website is down.
Similar Turkish incident
This debacle in South Africa is uncannily similar to one that happened in Turkey at approximately the same time.
Around April 23, news surfaced that Turkish crypto exchange Thodex had gone dark and its CEO Faruk Fatih Ozer was missing.
Istanbul police said that Ozer had hot-footed it to Albania, taking $2 billion of investors’ money with him.
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