Liquidators of South African Bitcoin Trading Club Request Greater Probe Powers
Provisional liquidators are seeking greater powers to investigate a cryptocurrency trading firm after it was allegedly discovered to be lying to investors and operating illegally.
According to a report by Bloomberg on Friday, Mirror Trading International (MTI) is set to be put under the microscope by four liquidators following an investigation from South Africa’s Financial Services Conduct Authority (FSCA) last year.
A kind of trading club, the firm had claimed to be able to create profits of 10% per month by using bots to carry out high-frequency trading using client’s pooled bitcoin.
The liquidators now want to increase their powers to include the right to call witnesses to an insolvency trial, appoint additional investigators and request financial information from banks. They may also request the ability to operate across multiple jurisdictions, according to Herman Bester, one of the four provisional supervisors appointed to commence the investigation into MTI, according to the report.
MTI was placed under provisional liquidation last month. That has remained unopposed, despite CEO Johann Steynberg in November telling investors that his embattled firm was being targeted by “every single attack imaginable,” and that claims it was mismanaged are untrue.
Initially declared as fraudulent by Texas state regulators in July last year, the FSCA probe concluded MTI deliberately misled investors and operated a financial service without a license. A criminal case has been opened with South African police.
According to the report, investors from the U.S. and Canada, Namibia and South Africa are preparing to lodge claims having failed to recover their funds from MTI. The firm is said to still hold $880 million worth of users’ bitcoin.
The company’s last interaction with investors was on Dec. 22, 2020, when the firm’s management said the CEO was nowhere to be found, that they had been lied to and were now cooperating with authorities.