Cryptocurrency investment scheme Africrypt allegedly claimed that it had taken on 15% of economist Dawie Roodt’s portfolio, court documents show.
Adrian Pilling, one of Africrypt’s former clients participating in the liquidation application of the failed scheme, provided detailed meeting notes that he kept from 10 September 2020 to 2 March 2021.
According to Pilling’s notes, during a meeting held at the Houghton Hotel on 6 October 2020, Africrypt claimed to have taken on 15% of Dawie Roodt’s portfolio.
Africrypt co-founder Ameer Cajee reportedly attended the meeting, together with two men identified only as “Brad” and “Warren”.
The notes also state that Africrypt claimed it was invited by Zimbabwe to open an exchange in the country.
Africrypt Cryptocurrency Investments was founded in 2019 by Raees and Ameer Cajee, winning new clients thanks to its astounding returns.
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.
Initial media reports about the missing brothers suggested that they had absconded with R51 billion in crypto-assets.
However, several investigations have rubbished these claims with the true amount pegged at R200 million to R1 billion.
Raees Cajee has himself stated that less than R72 million was lost when their platform was hacked.
He also claimed that even at the height of the market, Africrypt was managing just over $200 million (R3 billion).
Cajee’s claims are at odds with Pilling’s notes, which suggest that the Cajee brothers informed investors on 20 January 2021 that it had $500 million (R7.4 billion) under management.
While these contradicting claims are interesting, what is ultimately important are the actual claims being lodged against Africrypt’s estate for the liquidation.
Gerhard Botha, the attorney representing a group of disgruntled investors, previously told MyBroadband that there were claims totalling R115 million against Africrypt.
If the promised returns on the investments are factored in, the claims come to R140 million.
MyBroadband contacted Dawie Roodt about Africrypt’s alleged claim that they managed part of his portfolio.
Roodt said he never put any money in Africrypt.
“I’m an asset manager. I don’t need anyone else to look after my affairs,” Roodt told MyBroadband.
Roodt said it is well-known that he is interested in cryptocurrencies — which he prefers to call private money.
He said one of his financial advisors, knowing his passion for blockchain-related technology, arranged a meeting with the younger of the two Cajee brothers, Ameer.
“He truly impressed me,” Roodt said. “I was immeasurably impressed.”
Despite being impressed with Cajee, Roodt said he elected not to do business with Africrypt as he already has partners working with him on cryptocurrency-related ventures.
In addition to the bold claim about managing 15% of Dawid Roodt’s portfolio, Pilling’s notes also show that Africrypt claimed to use “a Canary system” for cybersecurity.
The claim appears on two separate occasions with the following wording:
- “They use a Canary system for security.” — 18 January 2021, Houghton Hotel
- “Africrypt uses CANARY Cyber Security” — 21 January 2021, Houghton Hotel
Thinkst Canaries are an early warning system for intrusions into computer networks — the proverbial canary in the IT coal mine — which is widely used by companies around the world.
MyBroadband contacted Thinkst founder Haroon Meer for comment, who said that Africrypt has never been a client.
Meer said that he isn’t sure if they are using the term generically, which in itself would be pretty unusual.
“[I] don’t know them, and they definitely aren’t using our stuff,” said Meer.
It is worth noting that the replying affidavit is not focused on the minutiae highlighted above.
The bulk of the affidavit is devoted to rubbishing Raees Cajee’s claims that Africrypt’s former clients are trying to liquidate the wrong company.
In his responding affidavit filed in July, Cajee contended that the client who brought the liquidation application, Juan Meyer, actually has a contract with Rae Create Wealth in Hong Kong and not with Africrypt.
Meyer’s application argues that this is a disingenuous claim as the Cajee brothers repeatedly informed clients that they were dealing with Africrypt.
Cajee argued that the bank account clients deposited funds in was not in the name of Africrypt, but Rae Create Wealth.
However, Meyer pointed out that in all communications, the Cajees told clients to use Africrypt (Pty) Ltd as the beneficiary reference for the bank account.
MyBroadband tried to contact the Cajee brothers via their attorney in South Africa, but they did not respond by the time of publication.