One of the biggest BTC scams in Africa was placed in final liquidation last week. According to local reports, the development came at a time when liquidators in charge of the case revealed they had managed to recover an additional 8,000 BTC from the collapsed scam. This brings the total recovered BTC from MTI to 9,281.
Mirror Trading International grabbed headlines after it allegedly scammed 280,000 investors, a bulk of whom were in South Africa. It posed as a multi-level marketing scheme, promising get-rich-quick returns for the investors. It was founded by Johann Steynberg, who had a history of duping investors and getting away with it over and over. He’s currently rumored to be in Brazil.
According to South African outlet Moneyweb, MTI liquidators recovered the 8,000 BTC, currently worth over $270 million. This is still just a third of the 29,000 BTC that’s believed to have been channeled into the cryptocurrency scam.
Speaking to the outlet, one of the liquidators said they were working to get the case classified as a Ponzi scheme. They will return to the Cape Town High Court on September 8 to argue this case. Such a classification would make it easier to go after the funds that the liquidators believe belong to the investors. Anyone who opposes the classification has until August 31 to file a replying affidavit with the court.
The liquidator, Riaan van Rooyen, told the outlet, “We obviously want to recover as much money as possible for members, particularly the elderly and the vulnerable. It’s important for members to know that they will not be required to pay into the estate just because they benefitted from withdrawals.”
He added, “It merely means that their claims will be reduced by the amount that they have already received in terms of withdrawals. If they paid in for example, R30 000 ($2,100), and withdrew R10 000 ($700), this means their claim against MTI would be reduced from R30 000 to R20 000 ($1,400).”
As the investors fight to recover their money, those who benefitted from MTI are fighting to keep the proceeds. Investor Clynton Marks, who owned a sizeable share of the business, has been opposing the liquidation of the company, arguing that there are better ways of recovering the money. In mid-June, Marks engaged in a legal battle with the liquidators over the issue.
At the time, he told one outlet, “MTI is a solvent company and any chance of members (however slight) to get any relief would not come from the liquidation process but rather from finding Johann and rightfully encouraging him to rectify whatever wrongs he has allegedly committed.”
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