The biggest bitcoin scam in history?
Two young South African brothers Ameer and Raees Cajee recently disappeared with some 69,000 bitcoins, or almost $ 2 billion, based on the current price of the cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin's unit value last April was around a record $ 65,000. Therefore, the duo fled at the time of the events with about 4.5 billion dollars. But in recent weeks, the price of the virtual currency has fallen. In question: a harsher tone from the Chinese authorities towards mining (mining a cryptocurrency consists of providing a service to the network of said currency in exchange for an economic reward) and the exchanges of these digital assets that have become very popular in the country. Therefore, one bitcoin is now worth $ 33,000 or $ 28,000. Thus, the value of the stolen cryptocurrencies has "fallen" to around $ 1.9 billion.
Ameer and Raees Cajee, 18 and 21, founded the currency platform Africrypt in 2019. In their sights: wealthy people and celebrities. Africrypt promised very high returns, sometimes even up to 10% per day. To be part of the "privileged" clients, it was requested to invest at least $ 100,000. Some of them have entrusted more than one million euros to the company.
An unusual request
Last April, when the price of bitcoin reached an all-time high, Africrypt's chief operating officer, Ameer Cajee, informed his clients that the platform had been hacked and asked them not to notify the authorities so as not to hinder the operations started to recover the sums stolen. A rather unusual request that worried Africrypt clients, who turned to a law firm, Hanekom Attorneys. The latter told the Bloomberg news agency that Africrypt employees had lost their access to the back-end (the part not visible to customers) of the platform a week before the alleged attack.
They would have fled to the UK
The two brothers, who have become unreachable, have fled to the UK, according to the law firm. They would have used "tumblers", services that allow "mixing" potentially identifiable cryptocurrencies with others to make them more difficult to track. As cryptocurrencies are not yet considered financial products in South Africa, the country's financial police, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority, have also been unable to initiate an official investigation. At the request of Bloomberg, the South African police did not react.
Possibly the biggest crypto theft in history
The Cajee brothers' case is possibly the biggest crypto theft in history. In 2018, cryptocurrencies worth $ 500 million were missing when the popular exchange platform Coincheck was hacked. And in 2014, up to 850,000 bitcoins, which at the time were worth around $ 470 million, were stolen in the infamous Mt. Gox hack. In South Africa, in 2020, the collapse of the fraud-suspected Mirror Trading International platform resulted in losses of 23,000 bitcoins, totaling $ 1.2 billion.