The Gauteng High Court last week granted Africrypt’s liquidators additional powers to trace missing funds and sell the company’s assets and property.
Africrypt, a crypto investment program led by Raees and Ameer Cajee, was reportedly hacked in April 2021 and its digital wallets emptied of more than R40 billion in bitcoin. Forensic investigator Hamilton Cheong and Darren Hanekom, the lawyer representing some Africrypt clients, have expressed doubts whether this was a hack, given that funds were depleted from wallets checked by Africrypt months earlier.
The Cajees fled South Africa after the alleged hack, saying they feared for their lives after receiving death threats. Raees Cajee has emerged from his hiding place in Tanzania last month to file an affidavit opposing the final liquidation of the company, arguing that the alleged hack came from a Ukrainian IP (Internet Protocol) address, and that investors had no claims against the company and “It is in the nature of investments that they can be lost.
A statement released last week by the legal representative of the liquidators, Ruann Kruger, states that Africrypt’s business model “required investors to deposit fiat currency with Africrypt, which used fiat money to purchase crypto assets on a number of asset swaps, and promised investors sky-high returns of up to 10% per day on their investments.
“There is no evidence that this was indeed an Africrypt systems hack, and to support it, it appears that funds were depleted from Africrypt wallets four months prior to the alleged hack.”
Africrypt was placed in interim liquidation on April 26, 2021 after investor group Badaspex filed for liquidation and obtained an interim order.
The court-appointed liquidators – Eugene Januarie and Welcome Jacobs – claim Africrypt’s directors have intentionally failed to cooperate and are deliberately obstructing investigations into the company’s affairs. An asset tracing investigation must now be conducted to determine what happened to the funds and what can be recovered.
“There is a high probability that assets and funds have been moved from Africrypt’s business to the names of directors, related companies and private companies to the detriment of creditors and requires urgent investigation,” the statement said.
“The so-called violation occurred on April 12, 2021, causing a loss of approximately R84 million, although an amount of R200 million was received and invested on behalf of the investors.”
This raises questions as to the status of the remaining 116 million Rand (i.e. the difference between the 200 million Rand claims received and the reported loss of around 84 million Rand), and whether this includes the gains and losses of investment, as well as withdrawals.
The liquidators also want to know why no communication was issued by Recreate Wealth (Pty) Ltd or ReaCreate Wealth Limited, the two Hong Kong-based companies that were the legal entity that contracted with Africrypt’s clients.
“With the extensive powers of the liquidator, they will be able to investigate and question relevant parties, directors and their related companies during the investigation to uncover the mystery behind this alleged ‘Bitcoin heist’.”
“The main objective of the liquidator is to track down assets, to attempt to access Africrypt systems and their source codes to recover Bitcoin wallets and funds invested and lost by investors.
“In this undertaking, the liquidators have further secured the services of Mahier Tayob of Tayfin Forensic Investigative Auditors to conduct forensic investigations into the affairs of Africrypt and related entities.”