The masterminds of one of South Africa’s largest Bitcoin Ponzi schemes, Mirror Trading International (MTI), have been asked by the scheme’s liquidators to repay more than $291 million in debts for the scam.

Influence of liquidators

Mirror Trading International (MTI), the liquidator of the South African bitcoin Ponzi scheme, has issued subpoenas to 18 people believed to be behind the now-defunct scheme. Liquidators want named individuals to repay more than $291 million (R4,666,077,528) to repay the scheme’s debt, a report said.

The move to subpoena the alleged masterminds of MTI comes just months after liquidators tried to get the online bitcoin trading platform to be declared an illegal business by a South African court. According to News, the move was thwarted by a series of late documents filed by lawyers representing MTI investors.

Investors are reportedly concerned that the liquidator’s motion would give the latter too much power, which could jeopardize their chances of getting their money back. A South African judge then postponed the hearing to a later date after investors intervened.

Masterminds Aware of MTI’s Bankruptcy

Meanwhile, a report by Mybroadband suggests the liquidators have asked the Pretoria High to hold the MTI masterminds accountable under the provisions of the Companies Act. The liquidators reportedly argued in the filing that the individuals subpoenaed, including MTI co-owners Johann Steynberg and Clynton Marks, knew the bitcoin exchange was insolvent.

“[The defendants] It was known at all relevant times that MTI was trading in insolvency and that the conduct of MTI’s creditors constituted fraud,” the liquidators reportedly said in the subpoena.

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Consequently, the liquidators claim that all individuals subpoenaed must be held accountable for their role in continuing MTI’s fraudulent business. MTI, dubbed the biggest cryptocurrency scam of 2020, collapsed shortly after its CEO, Johann Steynberg, lost investor funds in late 2020. He was later arrested by Brazilian law enforcement in late 2021.

The -appointed liquidator has engaged in an ongoing battle with a group of investors opposing the liquidation process after the online trading platform collapsed. The group maintains that MTI is still solvent and therefore should not be liquidated, and wants the court to stop the process.

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Terence Chimwala

Terence Zimwara is an award-winning journalist, author and author from Zimbabwe. He has written extensively on the economic woes of some African countries and how digital currencies can offer Africans an escape route.

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