In an unexpected turn of events, the management team at Mirror Trading International (MTI) is now hinting that their CEO Johann Steynberg may have left a scam. The team claims that Steynberg, who is believed to be now in Brazil, locked up key management staff from accessing an MTI account with a local bank. In addition, management now seems to confirm earlier claims that bitcoin withdrawal applications are not being honored despite previously refuting this.
BTC Status of Investors Unknown
The last-minute disclosures by MTI management appear to back up the findings of an investigation by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), South Africa’s financial services regulator. In its MTI probe update, the FSCA said it discloses previously unreported losses as well as bitcoins that cannot be accounted for. The FSCA says the investigation also found evidence suggesting that MTI’s broker, Trade 300 is affiliated with Steynberg.
Interestingly, in a statement issued on behalf of management there is a belief that Trade 300 “may be owned and operated by Johann Steynberg.” The statement also adds that “communication with this broker has been rare and imminent.”
Meanwhile, in the seven “MTI critical statements”, the management team chronicles the chain of events that followed the FSCA’s raid on the residences of chief executives of the bitcoin trading company in late October. The document begins by explaining the steps Steynberg allegedly took after the raid and how such measures were supposed to protect investors’ bitcoins. The statement says:
Johann told us that when the FSCA seized all electronic devices, a security protocol was put in place with the broker to avoid stealing all our bitcoin members, this included limiting withdrawals. This was communicated to all members at the insistence of managers.
Next, MTI’s statement states that the CEO then asked Clynton Marks – a member of MTI’s management team – for 400 BTC to “pay members who had withdrawn as the restriction on withdrawal was with the broker remains a barrier. ” The statement claims that Marks has agreed and transferred the RTB to the CEO but management has “no proof that Johann contributed the amount stated.” Marks, who used his personal BTC, made three transfers between November 1 and 12.
Later, on November 30, Steynberg received an email from an anonymous source warning him of an imminent FSCA raid, again. In the email, the anonymous sender thanks Steynberg “for everything you do for humanity” before urging him to leave 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, members of the MTI management team, who were uncomfortable with the CEO’s arrangement, threatened not to work with Steynberg unless he surrendered to call them “to appoint a very responsible moment who could run the system in his absence. ” Still, Steynberg refused as he insisted his wife “Nerina is his 2IC” and the MTI team seemed capable. Nevertheless, beginning on December 15, Steynberg ceased communicating with MTI management.
Since unveiling the “appalling situation” the MTI team claims to have been trying to restore inaccessible investor BTC. A private investigator has since been hired to track down Steynberg and the team adds that he will be working with law enforcement “until now
issue is resolved. ”
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