MTI does not know if its bitcoin is safe

Written by Ciaran Ryan. Posted in Journalism

Members will have to wait until Monday to find out. From Moneyweb.

Questions abound regarding the safety of the 17 000 bitcoin (worth around R5.6bn) reported to be under MTI's control. Image: Chris Ratcliffe, Bloomberg
Questions abound regarding the safety of the 17 000 bitcoin (worth around R5.6bn) reported to be under MTI’s control. Image: Chris Ratcliffe, Bloomberg

Mirror Trading International (MTI) issued a ‘critical statement’ on Tuesday saying its missing CEO Johann Steynberg is alive and probably in Brazil, but that “management and leaders do not know if our bitcoin is safe”.

This statement comes just a day after Ulrich Roux & Associates withdrew as the company’s legal representatives, citing the disappearance of Steynberg and the fact that MTI members are not receiving their withdrawals as they have in the past.

The law firm confirmed that MTI management “have no way of contacting Steynberg”.

MTI is reported to have 280 000 members worldwide, and claimed to generate returns of up to 10% a month using a computer trading algorithm. The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) has warned people to steer clear of the company and these claims of high returns.

The statement issued by MTI says the last time management heard from Steynberg was December 15. The same statement quotes Steynberg’s wife Nerina as saying he is heading back to SA on December 22, though MTI management has no knowledge of this.

The following extract is taken from the MTI statement:

  • Johann has not been truthful with management, leaders or members.
  • We as management and leaders do not know if our bitcoin is safe.
  • Management has contacted the server team; they are co-operating fully.
  • Management has been in contact with the broker, Trade300, but now believe this company is potentially owned and operated by Johann Steynberg. Communication with the broker has been sparse and unforthcoming.
  • The whole management team is co-operating with law enforcement and will continue to do so until this matter is resolved.
  • Nerina Steynberg (Johann’s wife) is yet to file a missing persons’ report.

The MTI statement goes on to say that things started unravelling quickly after the search and seizure raid by the FSCA in October, when the offices and homes of MTI executives were raided and several phones and electronic devices seized.

Ciaran Ryan

The Writer's Room is a curated by Ciaran Ryan, who has written on South African affairs for Sunday Times, Mail & Guardian, Financial Mail, Finweek, Noseweek, The Daily Telegraph, Forbes, USA Today, Acts Online and, among others. In between he manages a gold mining operation in Ghana, and previously worked in Congo. Most of his time is spent in the lovely city of Joburg.