The South African financial regulator, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) supports the liquidators of Mirror Trading International (MTI) to recoup money paid to investors. MTI is a bitcoin Ponzi scheme started in South Africa.
The FSCA has finalised its investigation into Mirror Trading International (Pty) Ltd (MTI)
and will share its report with the liquidators appointed by the Master of the High Court.
The appointed liquidators are Mr. AW van Rooyen (Investrust Insolvency Practitioners), Mr. H Bester (Tygerberg Trustees), Mrs. J Barnard and Mrs. D Basson (Tshwane Trust Co).
The FSCA said in a statement that it understands that the liquidators are of the view that the funds or assets received by certain members of the public pursuant to investing with MTI, may be unlawful.
“The liquidators intend to recover such funds and assets from these investors – a
course of action that the FSCA supports,” said the FSCA. “Affected investors are requested to contact the liquidators in this regard.”
The bitcoin Ponzi scheme MTI, which is founded by Johann Steynberg from Polokwane, claims on its website to have more than 90 000 active members in 177 countries.
The company’s head office is in Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa. There are two satellite offices – one in Randburg, Gauteng and one in Strand, Western Cape, South Africa.
Using Bitcoin as its base currency, the company claims it uses advanced digital software and artificial intelligence (AI) to trade on the international Forex markets. Members join a trading pool with a minimum of $100 worth of Bitcoin.
“Although the main FSCA investigation has been completed, the Authority has opened a
criminal case with the Commercial Crime Unit and will assist the NPA with its
responsibilities,” the FSCA said.
“It will also assist the liquidators in their extensive task of completing the
liquidation and subsequent distributions. The Authority is also working with foreign
regulators to ensure that MTI’s unlawful activities are not perpetuated in other
“The FSCA will now consider administrative actions to be taken against the individuals and
entities involved in the matter.”
MTI collapsed last December after making an estimated 23 000 bitcoin worth R13.3 billion from thousands of investors around the world.
What is described as an alleged online bitcoin trading scam, MTI alarm bells first started ringing in August 2020 when the FSCA filed criminal charges with local law enforcement against the company.
The regulator’s decision to press charges followed an investigation into MTI that unearthed the company’s use of fake trade statements, undeclared losses, and possible fraud involving thousands of bitcoins.
The MTI database was recently hacked by Anonymous ZA
A group or individual calling themselves “Anonymous” have revealed top earners at MTI.
The group has published the data on the open Internet using Github’s web hosting functionality mtileaks.github.io.
Last month, the Cape Town High Court granted a provisional liquidation order against MTI. The liquidation case was brought by Vezi & De Beer Inc on behalf of their client, Anton Lee.
The leak by “Anonymous” reveals information about the top 200 earners in Mirror Trading International. It exposes the names, account information, addresses, and contact information of each of the top earners.
For more read: Data Breach Reveals Top Earners At MTI Bitcoin Ponzi Scheme
US lawmakers also investigating MTI
Furthermore, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has thrown its weight behind the international investigation into MTI.
Stuart Fraenkel of US law firm Nelson & Fraenkel says the evidence is emerging that the bulk of US investors in MTI are based in California.