Raees Cajee, one of the infamous “Bitcoin Brothers” who co-founded Africrypt and is accused of absconding with bitcoin worth R51 billion, has filed court papers to oppose the company’s liquidation.
“The media and greater public have speculated that Ameer and I have fled the country with billions of Rands worth of cryptocurrency,” Cajee stated in his answering affidavit, which MyBroadband has seen.
“This is not true. We were forced to flee the country — with our immediate family, including my disabled father — after receiving numerous death threats,” he said, adding that they are still receiving threats.
“We have had our location tracked, our mobile numbers hacked, and my father was, also, at one stage kidnapped.”
Cajee’s affidavit bears the stamp of the South African High Commission in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania and is dated 19 July 2021.
Africrypt Cryptocurrency Investments was founded in 2019 by Raees and Ameer Cajee, winning new clients thanks to the astounding returns it delivered.
An investment presentation from around September 2020 showed that Africrypt achieved returns as high as 13% per month for clients on its “Aggressive” plan.
Two years after its founding, the brothers informed investors that the company had been hacked and all its cryptocurrency holdings stolen.
They also discouraged investors from instituting legal proceedings, saying it would delay getting the money back.
A group of clients instituted liquidation proceedings against Africrypt on 19 April 2021. The brothers vanished soon thereafter.
According to Cajee, they were hiding out in Dubai in May when his father visited a government office and was waved down by Pakistani nationals as he was about to get into his car.
Cajee said that his father thought the people were waving to him because they knew one another.
However, when he approached them, they extorted him with threats to his family in Dubai and his extended family in South Africa.
Cajee said that his father was held for the better part of 12 hours and did as the attackers told him out of fear.
“This appeared to me to be a case of individuals having been contracted in Dubai by disgruntled investors who no doubt intended to intimidate and harass us into making unlawful payments,” Cajee stated.
He said that the matter was reported to the Dubai police. MyBroadband contacted the police in Dubai but did not receive confirmation of the case number Cajee provided at the time of publication.
“It is for this reason that I have decided to remain in a country where my security and safety is maintained. I have thus elected to keep my whereabouts confidential,” said Cajee.
Cajee repeatedly disputed the allegations that they stole cryptocurrency worth R51 billion.
He maintained that Africrypt was hacked and said that the attack originated from a Ukrainian IP address — 188.8.131.52.
The IP address belongs to a network operator in Ukraine called Nashnet.
Cajee and many others, including the attorney bringing the liquidation application against Africrypt, have stated that the R51 billion figure is wrong.
Wall Street Journal previously reported that Cajee said less than R72 million was lost when their platform was hacked.
Cajee supplied FNB and Standard Bank statements to substantiate his case.
The FNB account, which he said was used by their business entity based in Hong Kong, Rae Create Wealth, received around R178 million in deposits between September 2020 and March 2021.
The Standard Bank account belonging to Africrypt handled a negligible amount of money between February 2020 and May 2020.
MyBroadband contacted Standard Bank to verify the authenticity of the bank statements provided by Cajee and to ask how much money flowed through the account.
Standard Bank declined to comment.
“Due to issues relating to client confidentiality, we can not comment on customer or potential customer information,” the bank stated.
First National Bank did not respond to requests for comment by the time of publication.
An attorney representing a group of disgruntled investors told MyBroadband that the current claims against Africrypt are R115 million without factoring in the growth the investments should have received.
With the growth added, the claims come to R140 million.
Cajee said that law firms asked astronomically high fees to represent them due to the media attention and misinformation around Africrypt.
As a result, they have had to part ways with two sets of attorneys, Cajee said.
Cajee said they were told their second attorney, John Oosthuizen, was recently threatened because of his involvement in the case.
The main thrust of Cajee’s argument against liquidation was that the application was aimed at the wrong company.
According to Cajee, clients never contracted with Africrypt but with a Hong Kong entity called Rae Create Wealth.
While the Rae Create Wealth website is no longer online, a search on the Internet Archive revealed that Raees and Ameer Cajee were the only team members listed on the site.
Raees is listed as the CEO and CTO of Rae Create Wealth, while Ameer is listed as the CFO.
The attorney for the group seeking to liquidate Africrypt, Gerhard Botha, argued that Cajee’s technical point was moot as the contract with Rae Create Wealth was never executed.
MyBroadband contacted the attorney for the Cajee brothers, Shaheed Dollie, for comment.
He said that it remains a substantial point of contestation that the aggrieved client brought his liquidation application against Africrypt and not against Rae Create Wealth.
Dollie also said that it was unfortunate that his name and the location where Raees Cajee signed the affidavit had been disclosed, given the threats that have been made in the past.