Around 69,000 Bitcoins have disappeared from the South African investment platform along with the two brothers who own the crypto company.
While the facts have yet to be proven in court, if it turns out to be a scam rather than a hack, it would be the biggest in history according to Bloomberg. There are warning signs for investors, with users reportedly promising returns of up to 10% a day.
AfriCrypt was founded in 2022 and is operated by brothers Ameer and Raees Cajee. It was reported to have raised about 54 billion rands BTC, or $3.6 billion USD at the time, when it sent a message to investors on April 13 claiming that the platform had been hacked.
The company said it would cease operations as it began the process of “attempting to recover stolen funds and compromised information.”
South African law firm Hanekom Attorneys, which has handled the case on behalf of the affected user, said suspicion arose because the message included a warning that: “the client may proceed with legal action, but we ask the client to acknowledge that this will only delay the recovery process. ”
“We immediately became suspicious because the announcement asked investors not to take legal action,” said Lawyer Hanekom. The law firm also claims that “Africrypt employees lost access to the back-end platform seven days prior to the alleged hack.”
Hanekom’s lawyer alleges that the two brothers transferred 69,000 BTC which is now worth $2.2 billion after the recent price drop from AfriCrypt client accounts and wallets, and handed the funds “to various dark web tumblers and mixers, resulting in severe fragmentation” resulting in funds cannot be traced.
The two brothers could not be reached, with direct calls to voicemail, while the AfriCrypt website was also inactive. The law firm has reported the case to an elite unit of the national police dubbed “Eagle.”
South Africa’s Gauteng High Court has issued a provisional liquidation order against the Cajee brothers, and they have until 19 July 2022 to respond to the order.
According to African online crypto news outlet BitcoinKe, AfriCrypt attracts clients by targeting high-value investors and urging them to refer their friends, while also offering returns of up to 10% daily.