Cryptocurrency investors in South Africa may have lost nearly €3.018 billion in Bitcoin after the disappearance of two brothers associated with one of the country’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges. According to Bloomberg, a Cape Town law firm claims it cannot locate Ameer and Raees Cajee, the two founding brothers of Africrypt.
In April, the country’s cryptocurrency exchange told its investors that it had been the victim of a theft through a “computer attack” and asked them not to report the incident to authorities as this would “slow down” the process of recovering the missing money.
Some of those involved in the exchange hired Hanekom Attorneys, a law firm which said, however, it was unable to locate the two brothers in order to investigate the incident. It was discovered, however, that someone took Africrypt’s hoarded funds from local accounts as well as customer wallets where the coins were originally stored and involved them in a “tangle of schemes”, thus making it difficult (though not impossible) to track the money.
“Africrypt employees no longer had access to the back-end platforms seven days before the alleged hack [ataque informático],” the law firm told Bloomberg. The channel had tried calling the two Cajee brothers several times, and the calls had always ended up on voicemail for every attempt.
To further complicate any recovery attempt, South Africa’s Finance Sector Conduct Authority cannot initiate a formal investigation into the incident because cryptocurrency is not legally considered a financial product in the country.
If no one can recover the money, it will be considered the biggest cryptocurrency loss in history, easily overshadowing the more than 167 million Euros that disappeared when the founder of Canada’s QuadrigaCX exchange died while traveling in India.