TWO South African brothers who launched a bitcoin business from their bedroom and gathered £2.5billion in funds have vanished in what is suspected to be the biggest crypto heist in history.
Raees and Ameer Cajee, 21 and 17 respectively, have been missing since April when their trading platform was shut down over an alleged hacking.
Raees and Ameer Cajee, 21 and 17 respectively, have been missing since April[/caption]
The crypto brothers told investors not to report the cyber attack to authorities[/caption]
A picture of bitcoin, which saw its value skyrocket in April[/caption]
What is Bitcoin?
BITCOIN got you baffled? Here's what you need to know:
- Bitcoin is a virtual currency
- It’s traded between people without the help of a bank
- Every transaction is recorded in a public ledger, or “blockchain”
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- Mining involves solving difficult maths problems using computer processors
- Bitcoin can be traded anonymously, which can make it a popular way of funding illegal activities
- The value of Bitcoin fluctuates wildly
- Bitcoin is one of many different cryptocurrencies, but by far the most popular
Ameer, who serves as Chief Operating Officer of the brother’s firm Africrypt, told investors at the time not to alert the authorities, saying it would slow down their efforts to retrieve the cash.
But a group of investors ignored the warning and told their lawyers.
“We were immediately suspicious as the announcement implored investors not to take legal action,” Hanekom Attorneys, the law firm representing investors, said.
Eyebrows were raised when Africrypt employees lost access to back-end platform seven days before the alleged hack.
Police say the brothers sold a Lamborghini Huracan, a luxury suite at one of South Africa’s most expensive hotels and a rented beachside apartment in Durban weeks before their disappearance.
Hanekom Attorneys said Africrypt smuggled the funds out by pooling investor cash with other bitcoin transactions in order to make them untraceable.
In a letter to investors, Ameer said it was “unknown to us the extent of personal client information breached during the attack”.
Their disappearance comes as bitcoin’s value hit a record high in April, folowing numerous announcement from speculators such as Tesla titan Elon Musk.
The price of the cryptocurrency has halved since then.
Gerhard Botha, a Johannesburg lawyer representing 58 investors, was able to obtain a provisional liquidation order against the fugitives.
The brothers have until July 19 to argue against the liquidation, The Post reported.
When reached for comment, Ameer directed The Post to his attorney for comment, but failed to identity who that was or provide contact information.
Ameer and Raees launched Africrypt in 2019 and were lauded for the success of their company in a December cover story by local outlet The Umhlanga Magazine.
The boys features on the cover page of a South African magazine[/caption]
Tesla boss Elon Musk is a great supporter of bitcoin[/caption]
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The story has since been taken offline.
The brothers lured in small and big-time South African and foreign investors.
At one stage, the duo were flown to China by Huobi, the world-leading bitcoin and ethereum trading platform, to speak about their company.