Mirror Trading International: US enforcement agencies join probe into South Africa scam

Law enforcement agencies in the United States have joined with investigators in South Africa in probing the activities of Mirror Trading International, following the liquidation of the South African cryptocurrency firm.

The FBI is reported to be teaming up with liquidators managing the assets of Mirror Trading International, acting on behalf of U.S.-based investors who have been left short in the collapse of the exchange.

The investigation is being conducted in the hope of recovering some of the digital currency assets ostensibly lost by the firm, which has been described since as a ‘Ponzi scheme.’

At its peak in November 2020, Mirror Trading International had some 260,000 members around the world, holding a total of 230,000 BTC. However, the firm was since declared by some investors to be a scam, with its collapse into liquidation in June 2021.

In a statement to the media, the trustees responsible for managing the liquidation said the FBI would now be joining them in investigating goings on at the company.

“The firm’s liquidators had meetings with international law enforcement agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation, after being approached by them. The FBI is joining forces with the liquidators of Mirror Trading International in the interest of several U.S. and local investors.”

Investigators are also still trying to track down Johann Steynberg, the CEO of Mirror Trading International, who remains at large since the firm was brought into liquidation.

“Although there is a paper trail (airplane ticket) regarding his possible flight attempt to Brazil, no video or photo confirmation could be obtained that he did leave the country.”

The case is only the latest digital currency scam to emerge from South Africa, which has seen the number and complexity of frauds escalate with the growth in adoption of digital currency assets.

Follow CoinGeek’s Crypto Crime Cartel series, which delves into the stream of groups—a from BitMEX to BinanceBitcoin.comBlockstreamShapeShiftCoinbaseRipple and Ethereum—who have co-opted the digital asset revolution and turned the industry into a minefield for naïve (and even experienced) players in the market.

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