Bitcoin News

Brothers who carried out the biggest Bitcoin heist in history buy citizenship on a remote tropical island.

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Raees Cajee, 21, and Ameer, 18, both traders, escaped South Africa in April. They left after informing investors that their firm, Africrypt, had been hacked. Therefore, losing all its assets.

Forced to flee due to threats

According to data received by the Guardian, Raees paid £95,000 for his Vanuatu citizenship in October. Along with him, Ameer joining the fray in January 2021.

The accused conmen now claim to be victims of organized crime. Raees vehemently denied any wrongdoing and stated they were forced to flee due to “death threats” from “organized criminal syndicates”. He informed this in an interview with the Wall Street Journal conducted from a hidden location.

In addition, the brothers allege that their firm never possessed £2.5 billion in Bitcoin. They also inform that no more than £3.6 million had gone stolen.

They’ve both vowed to help with future investigations and work on a dossier to prove their innocence.

Citizenship for Sale

The suspected unscrupulous traders aren’t the only ones who have taken advantage of Vanuatu’s passport offer.

According to the Guardian, 2,000 foreigners have bought citizenship in the isolated Pacific Island, which has a population of 300,000 people, since January 2020.

In actuality, anybody may apply for a passport through the government’s citizenship-by-investment (CBI) initiative for £95,000 for each application.

Successful applicants can travel visa-free across the United Kingdom and the European Union.

Other Offenders

According to a study by Investment Migration Insider, these schemes are not unlawful and are reasonably popular among micronations, and helped Vanuatu generate £72 million last year, accounting for 42% of all government revenue in 2020.

Former Indian lawmaker Vinay Mishra, suspected of escaping India amid a corruption probe involving livestock and coal smuggling, is among those who have received one.

Alaa Ibrahhim, a discredited Syrian politician, Gianluigi Torzi, an Italian businessman who extorted €15 million from the Vatican to acquire a luxurious London home, and ex-Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj are among the others.

Citizenship might be withdrawn for people with “substantial convictions,” according to Floyd Mera, director of Vanuatu’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).

He added: “From now on, the FIU will conduct enhanced checks… If any of these persons have criminal convictions, FIU will promptly inform the Citizenship Office of the updated information.”

Transaction In Dark

Raees and Ameer sold their Lamborghini Huracan, a luxurious suite at one of the country’s most premium hotels, and a leased seaside condominium in Durban, according to South African authorities.

They then issued a strangely worded email to investors pleading with them not to inform authorities about the hacking since it would “delay” the money’s recovery.

Ameer told stakeholders that it was “unknown to us the extent of personal client information breached during the attack”.

Lawyers say that the rogue traders also booted employees from Africrypt’s end initiatives seven days before the alleged breach.

According to a law firm representing shareholders, an examination into the event showed that in November 2020, investors observed a spate of unusual transfers from their Bitcoin wallets leveraging “dark web” technology, essentially leaving them untraceable.

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