$3.6 Billion Crypto Heist: South African Bank Denies Business Relationship With Fraud Accused Africrypt
According to local media, leading South African financial institution FNB is denying allegations of a banking relationship with the recently collapsed crypto investment company, Africrypt. FNB also insists it did not enable the investment company’s transactions which helped Africrypt’s two directors disappear with billions of dollars in investor funds.
Disappearance of Investor Funds
The financial institution’s denial comes nearly two months after Africrypt abruptly stopped operating. At that time, the crypto investment firm’s management claimed Africrypt’s trading system had been breached. This breach compromised client accounts, wallets, and nodes, thus forcing Africrypt to freeze all accounts, the directors claimed.
However, shortly after the so-called breach, Africrypt directors Ameer Cajee and his brother Raees Cajee are alleged to have “transferred the crypto investment’s pooled funds from its South African account(s) through bitcoin on the blockchain in April 2021.” South African media reports estimate that as much as $3.6 billion in investor funds cannot be accounted for.
Meanwhile, in his response to a media inquiry, FNB spokesperson Nadiah Maharaj refused to acknowledge the existence of any relationship between FNB and Africypt. According to a media report, Maharaj, who cites client confidentiality restrictions, stated:
FNB once again confirms that it does not have a banking relationship with Africrypt. Due to client confidentiality, FNB cannot provide any information on specific bank accounts.
Use of Crypto Mixers
An investigation by local media suggests that after successfully siphoning investors’ funds, the Cajee brothers fled to the United Kingdom. These findings are also corroborated by another investigation by Hanekom Attorneys, a law firm that has been retained by victims of the Africrypt fraud. In addition to these findings, the law firm’s investigations further reveal that Africrypt directors had used mixers in an attempt to obfuscate the flow of the funds.
While the case has now been reported to the Hawks (South Africa’s elite police unit), the founder of the law firm, Darren Hanekom, is quoted in the report as suggesting Africrypt’s accounts with FNB have already been “drained” and that “the entirety of investors’ funds” may have been subjected to the mixing service.
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