Africrypt, a South African cryptocurrency investment business managed by two brothers — CEO Raees Cajee and COO Ameer Cajee — is currently under international examination after up to $3.6 billion (approximately Rs. 26,700 crores) in Bitcoin vanished from it. What’s more startling is that the two brothers who headed the business, which had celebrity investors, have vanished. It all began two months ago when the Cajee brothers claimed their company had been hijacked and then were forced to shut down activities.
The two brothers then pleaded with cryptocurrency investors not to inform the police about the situation, claiming that doing so may jeopardise the recovery of the $3.6 billion in “stolen” digital currencies from the company’s wallet. The company’s website is also unavailable. On June 25, at 3:16 p.m. IST, the price of Bitcoin in India was Rs. 25.51 lakhs.
Raees, 21, and Ameer, 17, are missing, but they have until July to file an appeal against the order. Cajee Brothers’ most recent contact to investors was on April 13th. Africrypt’s chief operating officer, Ameer Cajee, wrote to clients on April 13 to inform them that the company has ceased operations due to a breach. He stated, “Our system, client accounts, client wallets, and nodes were all compromised,”.
They said they had no idea how much client information had been stolen in the “attack.” They vowed, however, that if they were able to recover any “stolen funds and compromised information,” they would let everyone know. The usage of “various dark web tumblers and mixers” hindered the inquiry into where the bitcoins went, according to the legal company. This means that technology has made tracing bitcoins more difficult.
Raees and Ameer Cajee’s lawyer, John Oosthuizen, told the BBC that the brothers “categorically denied” being engaged in a “heist” or absconding with cash. “There is no foundation to the accusation and there’s no merit to those accusations,” he added. “They maintain that it was a hack, and they were fleeced of these assets,” he continued. He declined to confirm the $3.6 billion worth of the Bitcoin lost, citing media claims that the figure was exaggerated. Mr Oosthuizen told the BBC that the brothers had not informed the police following the alleged breach. He did note, though, that they were young males between the ages of 18 and 20, with “very little life experience.” The brothers had received death threats, according to him, and their initial instinct was to protect themselves and their families. He stated his company was putting up a dossier to show the authorities that Africrypt had been hacked and the brothers had been robbed. Raees and Ameer Cajee, he added, will cooperate with any future investigations by authorities. However, they had not been informed of any inquiry as of now.
Moreover, Zakira Laher, Cajee brother’s cousin and a former fellow director at Africrypt, is dealing with a barrage of phone calls from the media, police, and investors. She adds, “We really don’t know,” and that she is concerned for the safety of her family, which includes a week-old infant. Zakria claims that her role at the business was minor and that she received no compensation from Africrypt.
South Africa’s Finance Sector Conduct Authority is considering conducting a thorough investigation into what looks to be a massive fraud. Cryptocurrency assets are not legally regarded as financial goods in South Africa, according to Brandon Topham, the director of enforcement.