US investigators have joined a probe into South Africa’s crypto firm, Mirror Trading International (MTI). According to a recent report published by Bloomberg, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is joining forces with the liquidators of MTI in the interest of several US and local investors.
The US authorities are planning to facilitate the investigation in an effort to recover the crypto assets. In November 2020, Mirror Trading International had over 260,000 members across the world. Additionally, the company had approximately 230,000 Bitcoin.
In June 2021, MTI was placed in final liquidation. The financial regulators of South Africa called Mirror Trading International a Ponzi scheme.
“The firm’s liquidators had meetings with international law enforcement agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation, after being approached by them. The FBI is joining forces with the liquidators of Mirror Trading International in the interest of several U.S. and local investors,” the grouping, made up of five trustees, said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg on Tuesday.
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Crypto scams in South Africa have been on the rise since the start of 2021. In June, South African authorities started investigating a $3.6 billion crypto fraud after Raees and Ameer Cajee, the Founders of Africrypt, disappeared.
Global Crypto Scams
International crypto scams have increased rapidly in the last few years amid a jump in the adoption of digital currencies. In February 2021, The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York charged an Australian national for a $90 million crypto hedge fund scam. In the case of MTI, there is still no news about Johann Steynberg, the CEO of the South African crypto firm.
“Although there is a paper trail (airplane ticket) regarding his possible flight attempt to Brazil, no video or photo confirmation could be obtained that he did leave the country,” the joint liquidators said.
In addition to South Africa, crypto scams are surging in Nigeria as scammers are targeting people on Instagram and promising high returns on crypto investments.