Mirror Trading International offices raided by SA authorities
Mirror Trading International’s offices in South Africa have been raided by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority.
Additionally the residences of Clynton and Cheri Marks have also been raided.
The raids across Stellenbosch, Polokwane and Durban saw the FSCA seize ‘electronic and telephonic records from cell phones, notebooks, and PCs’.
The FSCA conducted the raids after securing warrants from high courts in the relevant jurisdictions.
The FSCA is South Africa’s equivalent of the SEC. Among other things, the FSCA oversees securities regulation across the country.
Being a civil agency, they do not have the power to make arrests. Whether Mirror Trading International and the Marks (right) are the subject of a criminal investigation is unclear.
Beyond issuing a securities fraud warning against MTI in August, the FSCA hasn’t revealed the extent of its investigation.
The FSCA explained that its next step is to examine the evidence and compare it with other information that it has obtained.
“On conclusion, we will make decisions involving whether we should take administrative steps against any person and or refer the evidence obtained to other bodies.”
In their securities fraud warning, the FSCA stated;
We are reviewing the information as it becomes available and will involve the South African Police Service if the discrepancies are confirmed.
The FSCA has previously claimed ‘the returns on the investments claimed by MTI seems far-fetched and unrealistic.’
BehindMLM reviewed Mirror Trading International in October 2019. Based on its business model, we concluded it was a Ponzi scheme.
A data leak last month confirmed as much, revealing the company, at the time, was running on an $80.2 million USD deficit. That is, if everyone in MTI withdrew their funds, MTI would come up $80.2 million short.
MTI maintains it is able to provide returns of up to 10% via a trading bot. When challenged on why it opted not to register with the FSCA and operate legally then, the company claimed the law doesn’t apply to it.
Cheri Marks is on the record parroting this sentiment. Marks, who we know as Cheri Ward, one of the architects behind the collapsed BTC Global Ponzi scheme, is believed to be involved in MTI’s day-to-day operations.
MTI CEO Johann Steynberg has yet to issue a public statement. As regulators close in on MTI and the Marks, Steynberg is coming off more and more like a puppet.
A voice message shared by Marks reveals her dismissing regulatory action against MTI as “attacks”.
The FSCA pitched up at our house with fifteen policeman this morning.
Really, is this how nervous we are? But anyway, pitched up at my house with fifteen policeman, while I was having breakfast with my friend and my children.
And proceeded to take all of our laptops, our phones and personal belongings and documentation (that) had no bearing on any investigation that they might have.
According to Marks, the seizure warrants were secured on the basis that MTI had failed to prove trading revenue was being used to pay withdrawals.
Based on her remarks, Marks fails to understand that videos of random trades, or even live trades, are not a substitute for audited financial reports.
Marks also disputes FX Choice claiming MTI engaged in no significant trading activity. This is based on “bitcoin transfers”.
In early August FX Choice revealed MTI conducted
just a few trading operations, which were performed manually, large and incurred substantial losses.
At the time MTI was claiming their monthly returns were possible because of trading through FX Choice.
After FX Choice terminated MTI’s account, the company rebooted itself as a crypto bot trading scheme.
Based on Marks’ frustration, the FSCA appear to have confirmed MTI wasn’t generating external revenue through FX Choice.
Marks claims the FSCA lied to the High Court to secure its seizure warrants.
They’re going to find proof of trade, which we’ve already given them, and they’re going to find proof of bitcoin balances, which we’ve already given them as well.
This whole situation does not stop anything. We still trade. We’re still gonna make sure that everyone gets their profit today. Withdrawals will still be processed later today.
So literally, this means nothing.
Whether Marks was aware that MTI’s offices had also been raided at the time of recording is unclear.
In response the FSCA raids, MTI issued the following vague statement:
From here it seems pretty straight-forward. The FSCA should have enough data to confirm that trading revenue is not being used to pay affiliate withdrawals.
If MTI has provided them with current data on affiliate backoffice balances, they should also be able to confirm MTI’s operating deficit (inevitable in all Ponzi schemes).
Stay tuned for updates as the FSCA’s case continues.
These known CAREER scammers have scammed their last scam!
Rot in jail SCUM!!!
we are on November 25th .. is it possible that nothing is known about the investigation yet?
a photo released by MTI indicates that FSCA investigations have led to the conclusion that:
The new broker is real;
the Bot they trade with is real;
that there are more than 20,000 BTC as a balance from the FxChoice to the new broker..
can you confirm?
SA authorities aren’t known for following through, or at least not in a timely manner.
The Hawks were supposed to investigate Cheri Ward’s last scam, BTC Global. Unfortunately nothing came of it.
Had SA authorities actually taken action, the financial strife MTI has caused could have been avoided.
What I can confirm is MTI is full of garbage. They still aren’t registered to offer securities in SA because it’s a Ponzi scheme.
The FSCA in SA gave a brief update on MTI: moneyweb-crypto/crypto-podcasts/regulators-noose-starts-to-tighten-around-crypto-scams/
@ And so?:
Could you perhaps post a link to this photo, with the alleged FSCA conclusions? I try to follow the developments through this forum thread:
Pretty much everything in connection with MTI gets picked up immediately by the contributors there, with the full benefit of their local South African knowledge, and I can’t find anything. Google doesn’t seem to find anything of the sort either.
What I can find is that the FSCA has just published new draft rules regarding cryptocurrencies (basically, they want to make sure everyone dealing with cryptocurrencies must be subject to the exact same rules as any other financial services company), and that, bizarrely, MTI promoters are trying to twist this as evidence that the FSCA found MTI to be “legit” (to use their highly exact legal terminology).
The latest word from the FSCA is actually in the interview Stevie just posted a link to, with Brandon Topham, head of enforcement at the FSCA (you must add moneyweb.co.za in front of the URL, the relevant bit starts at 20:27). He is quite clear.
The FSCA is “still analyzing the data”, and hopes to issue an update to the public in “the next couple of weeks”, which he later says means before the end of the year.
Currently, the situation is this (my transcription):
That was the warning in which they not only said that MTI was operating illegally, but urged the public to withdraw their funds from it, and pretty much said it had to be a Ponzi scheme without using that word, because of its “far-fetched and unrealistic” promised returns on investment.
He also addressed the claims made by MTI (in particular, the person who appears to be really in charge, Cheri Marks/Ward), that they showed the FSCA evidence of live trading.
He says they were “shown something“, but absolutely nothing to prove this was actual trading. They’ve also asked for additional information, but received nothing more from MTI so far.
Also, the lawsuit MTI loudly claimed to be starting against the FSCA is, as expected, non-existent.
The podcast is dated Nov. 26, 00:01, so that must be the situation as of Nov. 25.
Surprise surprise, MTI is telling outright lies again.
It’s highly unlikely the FSCA would use the term “ponzi” in relation to MTI.
Any charges are far more likely to involve “FRAUD” as well as the already mentioned “operating illegally”.
Brandon Topham certainly uses the word Ponzi, but only when talking about crypto-based scams generally. Immediately after he does so, the interviewer asks about MTI. But that is just a fun coincidence.
Of course no charge is ever going to include the word “Ponzi”, that’s not a term used in law anywhere, AFAIK. It’s just one particular form of fraud, and there’s no reason to single it out in any legislation.
It would also lead to unnecessary complications, since it’s not a neatly circumscribed category, and many Ponzi schemes are hybrids, incorporating other kinds of fraud as well.
But when you read that FSCA warning from August, all the aspects of MTI they give as having led to that warning put together really amount to saying “it can’t be anything other than a Ponzi”. It’s like a somewhat circumspectly worded checklist.