Scams are fairly common on the internet and this is much truer in the cryptocurrency scene. People have been scamming people using Elon Musk’s name and even succeeding in doing it but this recent scam might just be the biggest ever in the history of cryptocurrency.
According to reports, Raees Cajee and Ameer Cajee, two South African brothers that founded investment fund Africrypt have disappeared with $3.6 billion worth of Bitcoin. This number easily trumps the $2 billion that recently vanished in Turkey when the founder of crypto exchange Thodex, Faruk Fatih Ozer fled to Albania.
Anyways, back in April when Bitcoin was still soaring high. Reaching the $60,000 mark, Ameer, Africrypts CEO informed investors that the company had been hit with a cyberattack and was hacked. However, instead of reaching out to the authorities, he told the investors to not report the hack as it would only hinder their efforts to recover whatever was lost. If that wasn’t an indication to investors that something shady was going on then I don’t know what could have been.
The fact that they told investors not to report it to the authorities means that it most likely was an inside job. Africrypt employees had lost access to the trading platform a week prior to the ‘hack’ Ameer talked about. Reports came out saying that the sibling had even fled the country a few days before the hack even occurred. Africrypt’s website went offline after the hack and the Cajee siblings were unreachable via their mobile numbers.
Some investors who got tired of waiting and worried that something fishy had happened, finally hired Hanekom Attorneys to look into the matter. The law firm’s investigation revealed that the Cajee Siblings had moved all the pooled funds from Africrypt’s South African accounts and clients’ wallets to bitcoin tumblers and mixers. This essentially meant that yes, investors had been scammed and there was almost no way to trace the funds now.
Guess China was kind of right when it talked about the financial risks cryptocurrency has. South Africa’s Finance Sector Conduct Authority or FSCA is examining the Africrypt situation, but it didn’t launch a formal investigation because crypto-assets don’t fall into the category of financial products in South Africa so the FSCA has no jurisdiction.
The report has still been handed over to The Hawks which is a specialized police unit for organized crime.