Investors Seek Criminal Charges After $3.6B Billion Bitcoin Theft in South Africa
Raees and Ameer Cajee, the brothers behind crypto platform Africrypt, have not been seen since the two allegedly made off with $3.6 billion in Bitcoin last summer.
And amid the recent dip in markets, pegging the stolen sum now at $2.9 billion, victims are demanding criminal charges be made.
“We are pushing for the brothers to be charged for fraud, theft, possibly money laundering,” Sean Pierce of Coast to Coast Special Investigations—who is representing some of the victims—said during a Bloomberg interview.
“They can get 10 to 15 years for a first-time offense,” he said.
Pierce did clarify that a final decision to go forward with the prosecution has not yet been made.
Rashaad Moosa, Africrypt’s lawyer, has reportedly said that prosecution would be difficult to pursue because investors signed agreements to transfer claims to a Dubai-based firm called Pennython Project Management LLC.
The Dubai firm then offered investor payouts, and Moosa claimed that the investors no longer hold the right to any interest.
The Africrypt theft
Last summer, about 69,000 Bitcoin in investor funds was reported missing from the exchange, and the Cajee brothers that operated the exchange also vanished.
Africrypt ceased operations in April 2021—when Bitcoin was approaching its then all-time high of $64,000—citing a “breach” in systems. Investors were told not to report the incident to authorities because it would allegedly make it harder to recover the funds.
Shortly after, the two brothers allegedly transferred the funds, using coin-mixing services to obfuscate the funds’ source.
The location of the Cajee brothers is still unknown. At the beginning of the saga, some speculation suggested that they fled to the United Kingdom.
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