Beware of scammers promising to recover MTI bitcoin, say liquidators

Written by Ciaran Ryan. Posted in Journalism

MTI members are being contacted with fake offers to recover bitcoin. From Moneyweb.

Image: Bloomberg
Image: Bloomberg

The provisional liquidators of Mirror Trading International (MTI) have warned members to avoid being scammed a second time.

Several MTI members have been contacted by agents of a group called Basecoin, with offers to trace and recover bitcoin handed over to the failed bitcoin scheme, which was placed in provisional liquidation in December 2020 after failing to honour requests from members for withdrawals.

Read: MTI placed in final liquidation, 8 000 more bitcoin traced

MTI members are being asked to send additional bitcoin to these so-called recovery agents.

Says joint liquidator Riaan van Rooyen: “We have information that MTI members are being contacted by people purporting to be agents with access to MTI’s database. These agents are falsely claiming they can recover bitcoin deposited by members into MTI. This is clearly yet another attempt to defraud members of the MTI. Only the provisional liquidators have access to the MTI database, and only the provisional liquidators can disburse recovered bitcoin to members.”

As Moneyweb previously reported, liquidators recovered and sold 1 281 bitcoin from Belize-based broker FX Choice, generating more than R1.1 billion for the estate. A further roughly 8 000 bitcoin have been traced and is in the process of being recovered, says van Rooyen.

A forensic investigator involved in MTI reports that Basecoin agents are urging MTI members to open an account with crypto exchange Easy Crypto to receive bitcoin lost in the MTI scam. The agents are claiming to have full access to MTI wallets and claim to be able to make refunds to members.

MTI was declared by Chainalysis as the world’s biggest bitcoin scam in 2020, and roped in hundreds of thousands of members worldwide with promises of returns of up to 10% a month using a computerised trading algorithm. When the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) investigated, it found no evidence of a computerised algorithm, nor could it find any evidence of successful trading at all. In August last year it issued a warning against MTI and advised members of the public to ask for their bitcoin back.

Read:
FSCA investigating Mirror Trading International (Aug 2020)
Joining MTI may end in tears (Aug 2020)

Despite this warning, MTI managed to grow its membership base from roughly 60 000 to an estimated 280 000 over a period of five months through a multi-level marketing scheme that rewarded members for every new member introduced.

Read: An inside look at how MTI managed to prolong an extraordinary losing streak

Van Rooyen has warned members to accept communications relating to MTI only from the joint liquidators here.

Members can lodge their claims here.

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 Lewrockwell.com, 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.