Two brothers who founded a South African cryptocurrency investment platform, Africrypt, have disappeared—along with as much as about 69,000 BTC.
According to a Bloomberg report, a Cape Town law firm has been unable to locate brothers Raees and Ameer Cajee, who founded Africrypt in 2019, positioning it as "the easiest access into the world of cryptocurrency."
Africrypt ceased operations in April this year, around the time the price of Bitcoin hit an all-time high above $64,000. The company said at the time there was “a breach” in its systems and urged customers to not report the incident to the authorities, claiming that it would make it harder to recover the missing funds.
However, shortly thereafter the Cajee brothers allegedly transferred the investors’ funds from the company’s accounts, sending the coins through mixing services. Also known as tumblers, these services allow users to conceal the origins of their cryptocurrencies by sending coins into a single pool and “mixing” with other users’ funds.
Local media reports suggest that after allegedly defrauding the platform's investors, the brothers fled to the UK.
Currently, the case is being investigated by Hanekom Attorneys, a law firm hired by Africrypt investors. The law firm claims that “Africrypt employees lost access to the back-end platforms seven days before the alleged hack.”
The Hawks, an investigative unit of the South African national police force, is assisting with the ongoing investigation. To date, the Cajee brothers haven’t been located and the main website for the exchange is also down.
Cryptocurrency exchanges across the globe have also been alerted of the alleged theft.
Africrypt's ongoing investigation
The matter may be more complicated, though, as some investors suggest that the Cajee brothers could have run away because of “some dark threatening people,” and that “dodgy people” invested into Africrypt.
Neither is it immediately clear how big Africrypt's user base was. According to one investor, the company had several thousand customers in South Africa, but the majority of the investors were based in other countries.
To make things even more complicated, FNB, the bank where Africrypt's investor funds were reportedly pooled via a third-party entity, has denied any relationship with the company.
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