The organizers of one of South Africa’s largest Ponzi Mirror Trading International (MTI) bitcoin schemes demanded more than $291 million from the scheme’s liquidators to cover the debts of the fraudulent operation.
Impact of Liquidators
The liquidators of South Africa’s Ponzi Mirror Trading International (MTI) bitcoin scheme have issued subpoenas to eighteen individuals believed to be organizers of the now-defunct scheme. The liquidators want said individuals to pay more than $291 million (R4,666,077,528) to cover the scheme’s debts, according to the report.
The subpoena of MTI’s alleged organizers comes just months after liquidators unsuccessfully tried to have a South African court declare the online bitcoin trading platform an illegal enterprise. According to a Bitcoin.com News report, the move was thwarted by a slew of late court filings by attorneys representing MTI investors.
Investors reportedly feared that the liquidators’ petition would give the latter excessive powers, which could jeopardize their chances of getting their money back. After this investor intervention, the South African judge postponed the hearing until a later date.
The magistrates are aware of MTI’s insolvency
Meanwhile, according to Mybroadband, the liquidators petitioned the Pretoria High Court to hold the organizers of MTI liable as required by the Companies Act. In their petition, the liquidators claimed that the subpoenaed individuals, including MTI co-owners Johann Steinberg and Clayton Marks, knew about the insolvency of the bitcoin trading platform.
“[Defendants] knew at all relevant times that MTI was trading in insolvency and the acts committed and constituted fraud against MTI’s creditors,” the liquidators’ complaint states.
Consequently, the liquidators argue that all subpoenaed persons should be held liable for their participation in perpetuating MTI’s fraudulent business. Named the biggest crypto scam of 2020, MTI collapsed shortly after its CEO, Johann Steinberg, disappeared with investors’ money in late 2020. He was later arrested by Brazilian law enforcement in late 2021.
Since the collapse of the online trading platform, court-appointed liquidators have been fighting an ongoing battle with a group of investors opposed to the liquidation process. The group, which insists that MTI is still solvent and therefore should not be liquidated, wants the court to stop the process.
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