Two brothers and founders of Africa’s crypto investment firm AfriCrypt have gone missing following an alleged hack that jeopardized their clients’ accounts and wallets. 20-year old Ameer Cajee and 17-year-old Raees Cajeee have reportedly shifted the collective investor fund from an account at Johannesburg-based First National Bank (FNB) before retreating to the United Kingdom.
Africrypt, a currency exchange service founded in Johannesburg, South Africa, has gone on to become one of Africa’s largest and most successful AI trading companies in only a few years. It was established in 2016, by the child prodigy Raees Cajee. Ever since its commencement, the firm has seen an astronomical growth connecting banks, payment providers, and digital asset exchanges.
In April, the investors of Africa’s crypto firm Africrypt were mailed about the alleged ‘hack’ that had put the customers’ crypto-assets in a compromising situation. To handle the unpleasant circumstances, the platform was set to shut down, following the freezing of all the accounts. The sponsors were requested not to report the same to authorities, claiming that this might ‘delay the process of retrieval’.
Since both the founders have gone missing in action and are not returning any calls, the investors have involved Hanekom Attorneys, the South-Africa-based law firm to manage the chaos. According to the law firm, the financial reserve was placed through an array of tumblers and mixers, making it effectively untraceable. Since almost 69,000 bitcoins worth $3.6Bn have gone missing, the attorneys have cautioned several international exchanges about the reported scam, to watch out for any Bitcoins being converted.
Making matters worse is the fact that South Africa’s Finance Sector Conduct Authority cannot initiate a legal inquiry since cryptocurrency has not lawfully been regarded as a financial product in the country. If the money is not reclaimed, this incident will go down as the greatest cryptocurrency scam in history.
The event reminds us of Canada’s QuadrigaCX exchange case of 2018 when Gerald Cotten, the founder of Quadriga Fintech Solutions died on a trip to India. Since Cotten held the password to customers’ offline cold wallets, the company lost around $250 million owed to its 115,000 customers. The company was declared bankrupt in 2019, ceasing all the operations immediately. This event, however, will effortlessly eclipse the money lost in the Canadian exchange.
A different class of sponsors/investors have started liquidation activities against Africrypt. The purported theft has also been communicated to the Hawks, South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI). This special division exclusively targets organized crime, economic crime, and corruption.