~1200 BTC recovered from Mirror Trading International
South African authorities have recovered approximately 1200 BTC, held in an account belonging to Mirror Trading International.
The account was held with FXChoice, who MTI appear to have hoped to launder the stolen funds through.
MTI’s relationship with FX Choice came to a head last August.
The broker sensationally dumped MTI and revealed, despite assertions, that MTI had engaged in very little trading.
Certainly nowhere near enough to explain returns offered through MTI’s passive investment scheme.
Rather it seems MTI was using FX Choice to store stolen invested funds, presumably to transfer elsewhere at a later date.
What we didn’t know was that in addition to booting MTI, FX Choice also froze stored bitcoin.
As part of civil liquidation proceedings against MTI, and with permission of the FSCA, FX Choice has emptied out an MTI account holding 1200 BTC.
The bitcoin was transferred into the account last June, two months before FX Choice booted MTI and froze the account.
As reported by Jan Vereulen at MyBroadband;
“The FSCA have authorised the dispersal of MTI’s frozen funds at FXChoice to the appointed liquidators,” FXChoice said in its statement.
“We confirm that the transfer has now been completed and we consider the matter closed.”
FX Choice haven’t revealed who from MTI transferred the bitcoin to them.
FX Choice however have previously claimed MTI’s accounts were initially opened by Johan Steynberg (right).
The accounts were later converted to “corporate status”.
This likely narrows down the transfer of bitcoin into FX Choice by either Steynberg or Clynton Marks.
I haven’t really been following or reporting on the MTI liquidation proceedings, as I viewed them as a waste of time.
I’m not familiar with South African law but I’m still at a loss as to why the FSCA and enforcement equivalents can’t handle the case themselves.
This would include setting up a Receiver or Trustee, which is what the liquidation proceeding seems to mimic anyway (albeit kept at arms length from regulators).
Anyway with the goal of victim recovery, hopefully there’s no red tape behind liquidation of the recovered bitcoin.
Last August bitcoin was hovering between $10,000 to $12,000. 1200 BTC came to $12 to $14.5 million.
Today that same amount is worth around $70 million.
The catch here is whether or not liquidators will work with bitcoin or USD. Ideally invested amounts should be calculated in USD at the verifiable time of investment into MTI.
For the sake of simplicity when an affiliate claims to have obtained BTC should be disregarded.
Minus the USD equivalent of BTC paid out (valued at the time of the payout(s)), distribution should thus be calculated as a net transfer of USD in or our of MTI.
As of yet though there has been no official word from MTI’s liquidators as to how they will proceed.
Meanwhile sadly there appears to be zero progress in bringing Johan Steynberg or suspected MTI owners Cheri and Clynton Marks (right) to justice.
Steynberg is still MIA, as is the money the Marks stole through MTI. Last I heard the Marks were still living comfortably in South Africa.
Despite raiding MTI’s offices and the Marks’ residence, likely gaining more than enough to charge them in the process, no further action has been taken by South African authorities.
The Marks’ cryptocurrency related fraud in South Africa dates back to BTC Global.
Despite a still-open criminal investigation being launched as early as March 2018, again South African authorities have refused to hold the Marks accountable.
From a poster on Mybroadband regarding the 1200BTC – as I understand this account was frozen due to suspicious transaction patterns, which Fxchoice had asked for documentation to clarify but never received, so this was indeed likely the original Kitty they were going to raid.
To clarify here, and yes it’s in fact very suspect, like most of MTI’s operations were.
MTI lost their clients 50-70% on the initial copy-trading business over 2 months (and this was month3 of operation?), miraculously people stayed in, or even DEPOSITED MORE.
They were then migrated to a “pooled trading account” you had to transfer your funds in Fxchoice to the pooled MTI account where they would then “AI Trade Bot” you to millions.
This 1200 Balance was that pooled account’s balance as at the time of freezing,and also the account that had “small manual lossy trades” while they tried to work on photoshopping/videoshopping some kind of trading going on – and was the account that got flagged by Fxchoice for suspicious patterns of transactions (deposits from too many sources which were undeclared likely).
When are they going to raid the Marks’ BTC stash?
Who knows, the current liquidation proceedings are only to be finalized on 31 May (to allow the business rescue and alternative solution factions time to make their cases), so i’d expect 1 June+ to be interesting.
Unfortunately the wheels of justice are exceptionally slow. They are however in hiding and Cheri didn’t appear at an Enquiry hearing.
(On a related note, have it on good authority that a few top withdrawers dumped their gains into hardware wallets to make it challenging to retrieve anything).
Doesn’t have to be challenging. Forensic accounting shows you were paid X in BTC.
Pay back X BTC or we file a contempt motion.
Contempt motion filed = rot in prison till X BTC surrendered. At least that’s how it works in the US.
It isn’t like the Marks are hard to find.
The two of them deserve their own area dialling codes with how fat they’ve become on a continent where people still starve.
I’m not fat shaming, these people are beyond reproach. The SA government is wondering how to fund getting enough nutrition into primary school kids and we have this going on.
They can’t travel internationally right now, and an SA passport will not get you very far without pre-visa approvals.
Is there an Afrikaans word for “karma”? Other than “bevoked”?
For a country that gives 5-10years for murder,I wouldn’t fear reprisal for financial crimes much
🙁 Once Cheri’s blown all her MTI bitcoin on Lindt we’ll be back at square one with a new scheme then.
Due to the MTI leak, the identities of the top earners and their blockchain addresses are known. Most if not all of them live in SA and they are very easy to track down.
I think it’s totally irrelevant how and where they stored the funds. All that matters is there’s lots of evidence documenting they took it in the first place.
I have not been too encouraged that the FSCA is going to do anything against the Marks. I say that because of the Worldwide SolutionZ case.
I know because we were in the middle of it providing information to the authorities of the scope of the Ponzi. Yet is seems all that happened is Marelize van Niekerk-Venter got fined, and that can’t even be confirmed.
She bought her son a restaurant with the money from Worldwide Solutionz, and I don’t think anything was done to him either. I know of no criminal charges filed against her.
To my knowledge there was never any Receiver appointed and any funds returned to the victims. So not holding my breath that the Marks will have anything done to them either.
Will be happy if they do, but not counting on it.
As mentinoned previously, criminal/financial threats to unlock their hardwallets will likely not deliver any credible amounts.
There’s also the “Boat sank with my BTC” meme.
The main difference between the Liquidator for mti and a Receiver is the fees…
Receiver fees must be approved by a judge but the Liquidator takes fees + 10% of any assetts they recover…
The 10% equates thus far to 120 bitcoin which is over $7,200,000…
Not bad pay for doing nothing!!!
“I can’t pay back X BTC because I forgot the password.”
“Don’t care. You can rot in prison until you remember it.”
“Fraud doesn’t carry an indefinite life sentence in this country.”
“Oh shit, so it doesn’t. But you will have to serve an extra five years if you don’t make restitution, what do you say to that?”
“A million dollars a year to sew mailbags? Sweet.”
Apart from asset recovery, legal action, sorting through thousands of claims (many of them nonsensical and inflated), trying to get them in some sort of order so you aren’t held liable for incorrectly distributing any recovered funds, dealing with wannabe scammers ringing you up and ranting about you stealing their money, dealing with suicidal victims ringing you up and crying about their lost life savings, etc etc…
If it’s easy money why aren’t you doing it? Corporate insolvency is not a closed shop. It’s a recession-proof industry and the required accountancy qualifications are not rocket surgery.
5 years later dumbass transfers out of cold storage.
Police see transfer because blockchain.
Ass lube stonks go up.
Considering monitoring of wallet addresses can be automated, if they know where the bitcoin went it’s not rocket science setting an alert and forgetting about it.
This might sound like too much work but sooner or later this will have to be addressed by authorities outside of the US.