The cryptocurrency investment platform Africrypt has fallen victim to a scam. Investors lost a total of $3.6 Billion when the two brothers, Ameer Cajee and Raees Cajee disappeared with the assets.
Africrypt Hack Kept Under Wraps For Months
The first sign of trouble was back in April 2021, when the cryptocurrency investment platform was hacked, and a staggering $3.6 Billion (R54 Billion) was siphoned out of investor wallets. Despite being one of the biggest scandals to have hit South Africa, the incident did not attract global attention. This was because the investors and clients were categorically asked by Ameer Cajee in a written message not to alert authorities about the incident under the guise of recovering the assets.
An excerpt from the message reads,
“We urge all clients to please be patient as we attempt to resolve the situation at hand. It is understandable that clients may proceed the legal route, but we ask clients to please acknowledge that this will only delay the recovery process.”
Africrypt Hack Could Be Inside Job
Within days of this incident, the company’s founder-brother duo Ameer and Raees Cajee disappeared to the UK. Both of them were unreachable, indicating their role in the hack. Calls to both their phone numbers went straight to voicemail, while the company website also went down.
The “hacking” of the private wallets on the Africrypt platform is highly suspicious as one of the addresses used by the hackers was used for a standard crypto transaction prior to the hack. This points to an inside job. Investigators are looking into the flow of cryptocurrency transactions to certain large local exchanges.
Africrypt Money Laundering Operation? Sky-High Assets Raise Questions
Multiple regulatory authorities are conducting investigations into the whole operation of Africrypt. The fact that this low-key crypto company with less than two years of trading had been holding crypto assets worth over $3 Billion could indicate signs of a money-laundering operation. Even more suspicious is the fact that clients were made to sign an investment agreement that limits the company’s liability for the loss of funds.
According to Darren Hanekom of Hanekom Attorneys,
“Whilst we are aware of the many opportunities available for young people in the cryptocurrency space, we were suspicious of the claims that over 100 000 Ethereum coins were mined from home-based computer systems. Given South Africa’s high electricity costs, and unstable power generating capabilities, we found this claim particularly difficult to accept.”
Whether this was an international money laundering operation gone wrong, or an actual case of a crypto hack, it remains to be seen. However, the situation has further destabilized South Africa’s reputation as a safe financial haven, especially so soon after the MTI collapse and increased the growing urgency for crypto regulations in the country.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.