In an unexpected turn of events, the management team at Mirror Trading International (MTI) now suggest that their CEO Johann Steynberg may have exit scammed. The team alleges that Steynberg, now believed to be in Brazil, has locked out key management staff from accessing MTIâ€™s account with a local bank. Additionally, management now appears to confirm earlier allegations that bitcoin withdrawal requests are not being honoured despite previously refuting this.
Status of Investorsâ€™ BTC Unknown
The last-minute revelations by MTI management appear to buttress the findings of an investigation by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), South Africaâ€™s financial services regulator. In its update on the MTI probe, the FSCA said it uncovered losses that were not previously reported as well as bitcoins that cannot be accounted for. The FSCA says the investigation also found evidence suggesting that MTIâ€™s broker, Trade 300 is linked to Steynberg.
Interestingly, in a statement issued on behalf of management there is a belief that Trade 300 â€œis potentially owned and operated by Johann Steynberg.â€ The statement also adds that â€œcommunication with this broker has been sparse and unforthcoming.â€
Meanwhile, in the seven paged â€œMTI critical statementâ€, the management team chronicles the chain of events that followed the FSCAâ€™s raid on the residences of the bitcoin trading companyâ€™s top executives in late October. The document starts by explaining the steps that Steynberg allegedly took after the raid and how such measures were meant to safeguard investorsâ€™ bitcoins. The statement says:
Next, the MTI statement states that the CEO then requested Clynton Marks â€“ a member of the MTI management team â€“ for 400 BTC â€œto pay members that had made withdrawals as the limitation on withdrawals with the broker was still a hindrance.â€ The statement claims that Marks agreed and transferred the BTC to the CEO but management â€œhas no proof that Johann did contribute the amount stated.â€ Marks, who reportedly used his personal BTC, carried out three transfers between November 1 and 12.
Later, on November 30, Steynberg â€œreceivedâ€ an email from an anonymous source warning him of an imminent raid by the FSCA, again. In the email, the anonymous sender thanks Steynberg â€œfor everything you do for humanityâ€ before urging him to skip the country for his own safety. Using this email as justification, the CEO apparently left South Africa on or after December 2 and left his wife to manage his affairs in his absence.
Later, the MTI management team members, who were uncomfortable with the CEOâ€™s arrangement, threatened not to work with Steynberg unless he conceded to their demand â€œto appoint a proper second in charge that could run the system in his absence.â€ Still, Steynberg reportedly refused as he insisted that his wife â€œNerina is his 2ICâ€ and the MTI team seemingly relented. Nevertheless, starting on December 15, Steynberg ceased communicating with MTI management.
Since uncovering the â€œterrible situationâ€ the MTI team claims it has been trying to recover investorsâ€™ BTC that cannot be accessed. A private investigator has since been hired to trace Steynberg and the team adds it will be working with law enforcement â€œuntil this
matter is resolved.â€
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