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 cyber attack.
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Police have launched an investigation and say the brothers sold their 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.
They then kicked staff off Africrypt’s back-end programmes seven days before the alleged attack, Hanekom Attorneys, the law firm representing aggrieved investors, claim.
What followed was a oddly-worded email by Ameer to investors begging them not to alert authorities about the hacking because it would “delay” the retrieval of money.
Ameer appears to tell stakeholders that it was “unknown to us the extent of personal client information breached during the attack”.
“We were immediately suspicious as the announcement implored investors not to take legal action,” Hanekom Attorneys said in a statement.
Lawyers claim Africrypt smuggled the funds out by pooling investor cash with other bitcoin transactions in order to make them untraceable.
Their disappearance comes as bitcoin’s value hit a record high in April, following numerous announcements from speculators such as Tesla titan Elon Musk.
The cryptocurrency’s value 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 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.