Two South African brothers have reportedly vanished from the public, and their disappearance may have caused Bitcoin worth $3.6 billion from their cryptocurrency investment platform to vanish as well.
According to a report from Bloomberg, investors of Africrypt’s platform have hired a Cape Town law firm to investigate the brothers’ disappearance after reporting that the pair cannot be located at this time. An elite police unit called The Hawks has also been alerted as this could possibly be part of the biggest-ever dollar loss in a cryptocurrency scam.
Crypto-exchanges across the globe have also been informed of the incident should any attempt to convert the digital coins be made amid their disappearance.
Bloomberg reports that Bitcoin’s value has surged over the last year, but nearly 69,000 coins — worth more than $4 billion at their April peak — could now be lost. Amid the rising cases of fraud in cryptocurrency, this could trigger more regulation efforts to restore order in the market.
Prior to the brother’s vanishing, the outlet shares that Africrypt CEO Ameer Cajee — the elder brother in this case — told clients of the company that the platform was the victim of a hack and asked them not to report the incident to lawyers and authorities. His reasoning was that it would slow down the recovery process of the missing funds.
Following this, lawyers from Hanekom Attorneys were brought in by skeptical investors, along with a separate group, to begin liquidation proceedings against Africrypt.
“We were immediately suspicious as the announcement implored investors not to take legal action,” the firm’s attroneys said in response to Bloomberg’s emailed questions. “Africrypt employees lost access to the back-end platforms seven days before the alleged hack.”
The investigation of Africrypt revealed that pooled funds were transferred from its South African accounts and client wallets, and then coins went through tumblers and mixers — other large pools of bitcoin — to make them untraceable.
Furthermore, calls were made to a mobile number for Cajee and his brother, Raees, but were immediately directed to a voicemail service. The company website is now also down.
This alarming saga unfolds after the collapse of another South African Bitcoin trader, Mirror Trading International, that happened last year, Bloomberg reports. While those losses amounted to a– or $1.2 billion in the biggest crypto scam of 2020 according to a report by Chainalysis — Africrypt investors could lose three times as much.