$3.6B of Bitcoin (BTC) vanish along with two founders of a South African crypto investment app
The two South African brothers, who founded the crypto investment app Africrypt in 2019, disappeared along with 69,000 BTCs worth around $4 billion at their April peak.
Thu, 24 Jun 2021, 10:34 am UTC
Two brothers in South Africa might have just pulled off the biggest crypto heist in history. The two siblings, who founded a crypto company, suddenly vanished along with more than three billion dollars worth of Bitcoins (BTC).
Ameer Cajee and his younger brother, Raees Cajee recently vanished along with around $3.6 billion worth of Bitcoin in what might be the world’s biggest crypto heist, according to Business Insider. The two South African brothers, who founded the crypto investment app Africrypt in 2019, disappeared along with 69,000 BTCs worth around $4 billion at their April peak.
Ameer Cajee, who is the company’s chief operating officer, informed customers that the platform was hacked. The breach supposedly compromised clients’ accounts, wallets, and nodes.
But what was unusual was that Ameer told clients not to report the breach to South African authorities. The explanation given was that Africrypt was still trying to recover the funds and reporting the incident to the police might interfere with their recovery efforts.
“We regret to inform you that due to the recent breach in our system, client accounts, client wallets, and nodes were all compromised…” Africrypt said in its announcement, according to local publication Independent Online. “Unfortunately, this has forced Africrypt to halt operations … We urge all clients to please be patient as we attempt to resolve the situation. 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.”
However, some customers of the crypto investment app became suspicious and decided to report the hack. They also approached Hanekom Attorneys to help them locate the missing brothers, and when that failed, a South Africa police unit called Hawks became involved as well.
“We were contacted by investors shortly after the Africrypt announcement and immediately became suspicious as the announcement implored investors not to take legal action,” Darren Hanekom, founder of Hanekom Attorneys, said. “In taking the matter forward, we requested our clients to provide copies of all relevant correspondence, their cryptocurrency wallet addresses, and proof of payments.”
Hanekom added that based on their investigation on the transfer of funds, it appears that various dark web tumblers and mixers were used resulting in severe fragmentation. While the incident was announced as a hack, Hanekom found an anomaly, because the delivery address used between April 9 and 13 in the dissipation of the funds is the same address used by Africrypt’s regular business dealings.
“Consequently, the nature of the dissipation being a ‘hack' seems misplaced in these circumstances,” Hanekom said. “Further … we are not privy to the status of the South African bank account(s) used to run Africrypt, save for the fact that they are held with FNB.”
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