Man accused of stealing $3.6B in bitcoin claims much less is missing

The South African cryptocurrency entrepreneur, who was accused along with his brother of stealing $3.6 billion worth of bitcoin, claimed in a brand new interview that much less than that is missing from traders’ wallets.

Raees Cajee, 21, and his 18-year-old brother Ameer are actually in hiding as a result of they’ve been receiving demise threats, the elder Cajee told The Wall Street Journal.

The older brother additionally mentioned that on the peak of the bitcoin rally earlier this 12 months, his firm, Africrypt, managed simply over $200 million, a far cry from the $3.6 billion {that a} legislation agency employed by disgruntled traders says is missing.

“We dealt with a lot of high-level South Africans, a lot of politicians, a lot of high-level businessmen within South Africa, as well as celebrities,” Cajee informed the Journal. “Some particularly very, very dangerous people — that we had not actually known were clients — have started to come out of the cracks.”

The two Cajee brothers based their cryptocurrency funding platform in 2019. But in April, as the worth of bitcoin surged to an all-time excessive, Africrypt informed traders that the corporate had been hacked.

Frustrated traders employed attorneys, who investigated and mentioned that about $3.6 billion price of bitcoin had disappeared from Africrypt’s South African accounts.

But Raees Cajee informed the Journal Monday from a location that he wouldn’t disclose that the agency’s portfolio by no means reached practically that dimension.

A physical imitation of a Bitcoin.
Raees and Ameer Cajee introduced to traders in April that Africrypt had been hacked and requested them to not report the incident to the authorities or attorneys.
AFP through Getty Images

He added that not more than $5 million is presently missing, in keeping with the Journal.

Raees Cajee additionally mentioned he and his brother plan to return to South Africa for a July 19 court docket date tied to the liquidation proceedings in opposition to Africrypt.

Africrpyt’s traders first turned suspicious of the brother staff in April, after the youthful Cajee, who served as chief working officer, introduced that the corporate had been hacked and made the weird request of asking purchasers to not report the incident to authorities or attorneys.

But a bunch of skeptical traders contacted Cape Town-based Hanekom Attorneys, “which focuses on all aspects of the cryptocurrency industry” and advises “large volume traders, exchanges and arbitrage companies.”

“We were immediately suspicious as the announcement implored investors not to take legal action,” the legislation agency mentioned final week in a press release. “Africrypt employees lost access to the back-end platforms seven days before the alleged hack.”

Representatives for Hanekom didn’t instantly return The Post’s request for touch upon Tuesday.

Ameer Cajee declined to remark.

“Unfortunately I cannot give any statements regarding Africrypt as I was only an employee of the company,” he informed The Post by e-mail. “My employment was terminated on the 25th of April 2021.”

His lawyer, John Oosthuizen, didn’t return The Post’s request for remark.

South Africa’s Finance Sector Conduct Authority is additionally trying into the corporate, Hanekom Attorneys mentioned final week, however the company has mentioned it will probably’t launch a proper investigation as a result of bitcoin and different cryptos aren’t legally thought-about monetary merchandise.

Hanekom additionally mentioned it has reported the incident to the Hawks, an elite unit of South Africa’s nationwide police pressure. 

Darren Hanekom, a lawyer representing investors.
Darren Hanekom is one of the attorneys approached by a bunch of Africrypt traders who have been suspicious of the request to not report the hack.
REUTERS

The alleged heist comes after one other South African bitcoin dealer, Mirror Trading International, collapsed final 12 months. The losses included about $1.2 billion in cryptos, with some calling it the most important cryptocurrency rip-off of 2020.

The two Cajee brothers have been profiled in a December cowl story by native outlet The Umhlanga Magazine. The story, which outlined the Cajees’ success in launching their very own enterprise, seems to have since been taken offline.

“The vision for Africrypt has always been to develop the first African cryptocurrency-focused bank, providing decentralised finance to the people who need it most, giving easy access to capital for young entrepreneurs, and stimulating growth and prosperity,” the brothers have been quoted as saying in a joint interview.

“Our goal is to bridge the gap between cryptocurrency and fiat currency, making it a seamless transition between the two.”

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