The two founders of South African cryptocurrency investment platform Africrypt, brothers 17-year-old Ameer and 20-year-old Raees Cajee, disappeared along with a large amount of Bitcoin. From the platform they founded in 2019, 69 thousand Bitcoins disappeared. Its value during the April peak of the cryptocurrency, according to Bloomberg, exceeded four billion dollars. At the time of the disappearance of Bitcoins, this amount was equal to $ 3.6 billion. And on June 24, at the time of publication of this text, it was $ 2.3 billion.
Africrypt has worked with high net worth clients and celebrities, promising profits of up to 10% per day. Many clients have invested more than $ 100,000, and some have invested $ 1.4 million.
If the funds not returned, it will be the largest loss of cryptocurrency in history.
The real state of affairs of Africrypt
The disappearance of the Cajee brothers preceded by problems in the work of their crypto exchange. In April 2021, the eldest of the brothers, the head of the company, Ameer Cajee, told investors that Africrypt hacked. Then he asked clients not to report the incident to anyone, explaining his decision by saying that this would slow down the process of returning the lost money.
However, some contributors were skeptical and contacted the law firm Hanekom Attorneys. It turned out that Africrypt employees lost access to the software and hardware platform a week before the alleged hack.
During the investigation, it was established that the company’s funds were withdrawn from South African accounts and client wallets through large mining pools, after which it was impossible to trace the Bitcoins. In total, about 69,000 Bitcoins were lost. The incident already reported to the elite unit of the South African National Police. Another firm has launched a liquidation process for Africrypt.
We should note also that the fact of a hacker attack on the exchange not confirmed.
According to Hanekom, a few days after the alleged burglary, brothers Amir and Raees Cajee left South Africa for the UK. After they disappeared, they could not get through to the Cajee brothers – calls redirected to voicemail. The company’s website is down. The Cajee brothers also deleted the cryptocurrency exchange Twitter account. The South African financial sector department already joined the case, but the regulator cannot launch an official investigation, since crypto assets not legally considered financial products.
South Africa is unlucky with cryptocurrency
The situation with Africrypt is not the only one in South Africa over the past few years.
In 2020, South Africa experienced the collapse of another cryptocurrency platform – the trader Mirror Trading International. According to a report by analysts from Chainanalysis, then investors lost 23,000 bitcoins worth $ 1.2 billion.
In the spring of 2021, a similar incident happened in Turkey. The founder and head of the Thodex cryptocurrency exchange Faruk Fatih Ozer with $ 2 billion of investors’ money in cryptocurrency disappeared there.
Perhaps the Cajee brothers borrowed the “legend” from their Turkish rival. Faruk Fatih Ozer also curtailed the activities of his exchange, allegedly due to a hacker attack, instantly depriving clients of the opportunity to withdraw their funds. In April 2021, by the decision of the Turkish Prosecutor General’s Office, he was put on the international wanted list.