Ameer and Raees Cajee, founders of Africrypt, a cryptocurrency trading platform,have reportedly vanished with Bitcoin worth $3.6 billion from their cryptocurrency investment platform.
A Cape Town law firm hired by investors disclosed that they could not locate the two South African brothers and that the matter has been reported to the Hawks, an elite unit of the national police force, Bloomberg reports on Thursday.
It said the development has been escalated to all crypto exchanges across the globe should any attempt be made to convert the missing digital coins.
Africrypt was launched in 2019 by the Cajee brothers, promising investors prolific Returns on Investment (ROI).
In April, amidst a significant spike in the prices of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, Ameer Cajee, Africrypt Chief Operating Officer, announced that the company was a victim of a hack, leading to the disappearance of about 69,000 coins that was worth more than $4 billion at the April peak.
He also asked investors not to report the incident to authorities, explaining that doing so would slow down the process of recovering the funds.
Investors hired the Hanekom Attorneys law firm to investigate the incident, as it was conceived to represent the biggest-ever loss in a cryptocurrency scam.
“We were immediately suspicious as the announcement implored investors not to take legal action. Africrypt employees lost access to the back-end platforms seven days before the alleged hack,” Hanekom Attorneys was quoted to have said.
Investigators noted that Africrypt’s pooled funds were transferred from its South African accounts and client wallets, and that the coins went through tumblers and mixers or to other large pools of bitcoin in order to make them essentially untraceable.
Also, calls to a Cajee’s mobile number were immediately directed to a voicemail service.
This is not the first of such incidents in South Africa. A South African Bitcoin trader, Mirror Trading International, collapsed in 2020.
In what was described as the biggest crypto scam of that year, it recorded a loss of about 23,000 digital coins worth $1.2 billion, according to a report by Chainalysis.
However, Africrypt investors stand to lose three times as much now.
While this incident subsists, it is believed that it has the potential to spur regulators’ efforts to impose stringent orders on the market amid rising cases of fraud.
The price of Bitcoin has slumped by 15.23 per cent in the last seven days, and has touched a low of $28,893.62 and oscillated to a high of $39,513.67 within this period, before settling at $33,321.55 as of Wednesday 10.43AM Nigerian time.