June 18, 2022

Two South African Brothers Vanished With $3.6B Of Bitcoin In What Could Be The Biggest Crypto Heist In History

Brothers Raees and Ameer Cajee promised patrons they could make small fortunes off Bitcoin using their company, Africrypt.

But in 2021, the brothers fled South Africa, claiming criminals had hacked the platform.

According to angry investors, they fled with $3.6 billion in Bitcoin. 

The brothers were accused of carrying out the biggest Bitcoin heist in history. Local media, including Independent Online and ITWeb, were the first to report on the case.

In 2019, Ameer Cajee and his younger brother, Raees Cajee, founded the crypto investment app Africrypt. The company claimed it used a trading platform driven by artificial intelligence to invest money.

Not long after, the siblings and 69,000 bitcoins worth almost $4 billion were nowhere to be found.

It started in April when Ameer, who is the company’s chief operating officer, informed their clients that Africrypt was hacked, compromising their accounts, wallets, and nodes.

Announcing the “hack”, Africrypt said: “We regret to inform you that due to the recent breach in our system, client accounts, client wallets and nodes were all compromised.

“Unfortunately, this has forced Africrypt to halt operations … We urge all clients to please be patient as we attempt to resolve the situation. It is understandable that clients may proceed the legal route, but we ask clients to please acknowledge that this will only delay the recovery process,” reported Independent online.

Despite being asked not to – a few suspicious customers did report the hack.

They contacted Hanekom Attorneys, according to Independent Online, who then tried to track the brothers down.

When unsuccessful, Hawks, a police unit in South Africa that targets crime and corruption, was looped in.

Read: Africans Lose Millions In FTX Collapse Renewing Calls For Better Crypto Regulation

“We were immediately suspicious as the announcement implored investors not to take legal action,” Hanekom Attorneys told Bloomberg over email. “Africrypt employees lost access to the back-end platforms seven days before the alleged hack.”

According to a Bloomberg report, calls to the two brothers are being directed to the voice mail. A group of about 20 people has hired a law firm, and courts in South Africa have ordered the provisional liquidation of the company that started two years ago and gave huge returns in the beginning.

The last communication to investors from the Cajee brothers is reported to have been on April 13 last year when they allegedly said that they didn’t know the extent of the client information compromised in the “attack.”

They, however, promised they would keep everyone informed if they were able to pull back any “stolen funds and compromised information”

FNB, which banked Africrypt, has also been questioned about the incident, according to documents seen by Independent Online. The local bank denied any involvement.

“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,” Nadiah Maharaj, FNB risk spokesperson, told Independent Online.

The brothers are still being searched for.

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Abbianca Makoni

Abbianca Makoni is a content executive and writer at POCIT! She has years of experience reporting on critical issues affecting diverse communities around the globe.