Investors are livid after two brothers, Ameer Cajee and Raees Cajee, allegedly disappeared after an alleged “hack” that saw bitcoins worth nearly $4 billion at the time go missing in what could be considered one of the largest cryptocurrency scams of all time by dollar value.
This news, reported by Bloomberg, comes just months after Africrypt, the South African crypto investment platform run by the brothers, reported being hacked in April. In an email sent on April 13th to clients, chief operating officer Ameer Cajee explained that the platform will be halting operations after a system breach compromised an unspecified amount of clients’ crypto wallets and investments. Ameer implored clients not to involve law enforcement or investigators as it could “only delay the recovery process” of their funds, which they said would already take a “substantial amount of time.”
Bitcoin had reached $63,478.83 USD per 1 BTC just the day before, its highest peak this year. Today, the missing funds are still worth over $2 billion even after the price of Bitcoin tumbled by half to roughly $34,000.
Skeptical investors soon hired law firm Hanekom Attorneys to investigate, and the firm has so far been unable to find the brothers. Hanekom told Bloomberg that Africrypt employees had lost access to the platform seven days before the alleged hack occurred. The firm’s investigation found that Africrypt transferred funds from its clients’ wallets and attempted to make them virtually untraceable using tumblers and mixers. Hanekom has since alerted global exchanges in case there is any attempt to cash in on the alleged crypto theft.
According to Bloomberg, South Africa’s Finance Sector Conduct Authority is looking into Africrypt but can’t launch a formal investigation due to cryptocurrency not being considered a financial product. The matter has also been referred to the Hawks, a unit within the national police force that investigates organized crime and corruption. The Africrypt website has since shut down and halted all communications.