Two youthful South African brothers who allegedly vanished with bitcoins worth a massive R54 billion
( approximately US$3.6 billion) from the Africrypt trading platform have broken their silence over the massive “heist.”
20-year old Raees Cajee and 18-year-old Ameer Cajee categorically denied stealing the bitcoin from the Africrypt investment platform, and insist that they were the victims of a hack.
Raees was the founder and CEO of Africrypt while Ameer was the Chief Operating Officer of the platform which was founded in 2019. The two are suspected to have fled to the United Kingdom following the alleged theft.
However, speaking through their lawyer, the two brothers insisted that they are in hiding as they are scared for their lives after receiving multiple death threats from disgruntled investors. Lawyer John Oosthuizen, who represents Raees and Ameer Cajee, told the BBC
“There is no foundation to the accusation and there’s no merit to those accusations.”
“They maintain that it was a hack, and they were fleeced of these assets,” he added.
Oosthuizen also refuted reports that the Bitcoins which disappeared from Africrypt had a value of US$3.6 billion. Even though he declined to reveal the purported true value of the missing bitcoin, the lawyers said the figure of R54 billion rand which is being quoted by the media is vastly inflated.
The R54 billion figure was derived from a police complaint filed by law firm Hanekom Attorneys which is representing some of the clients who lost millions they had invested in Africrypt.
A report from Hanekom Attorneys reads,
“R54-billion has been transferred from its South African account(s) through bitcoin on the blockchain, and has regrettably, now been dissipated in its entirety. While we are still in the process of investigating the transfer of funds, with transactions on the blockchain being active up and until even date, upon an initial reconciliation, it seems that the funds were subjected to various dark Web tumblers and mixers, resulting in severe fragmentation.”
The Cajee brothers’ lawyer also said that the two brothers were young men with “very little life experience”. Because of this, they went into hiding when they received some death threats.
He insisted that his law firm is working on proving that the brothers are innocent victims of a hack that was carried out on Africrypt.
He also added that the Cajee brothers would fully cooperate with the authorities to prove their innocence.
The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) recently spoke on the matter saying that Africrypt, “was offering exceptionally high and unrealistic returns”.
However, the FSCA said it would not take any action because crypto assets are not regulated in South Africa. The matter has since been reported to the Hawks, an elite unit of the South African national police force.