Bitcoin scam MTI’s ‘winners’ disappear after sheriff comes to court


Mirror Trading International’s (MTI) so-called ‘winners’ were nowhere to be seen after they heard the sheriff was on his way to serve them at the High Court in Cape Town last week, where they were attending closing arguments in the application of the liquidators that the scheme be declared illegal. The liquidators not only want the crypto scam, spearheaded by Johann Steynberg and Clynton and Cheri Marks, to be declared an illegal scheme, but is also asking the court to declare that it was a Ponzi and pyramid scheme, that no actual trading happened, their so-called artificial trading bot was…

Mirror Trading International’s (MTI) so-called ‘winners’ were nowhere to be seen after they heard the sheriff was on his way to serve them at the High Court in Cape Town last week, where they were attending closing arguments in the application of the liquidators that the scheme be declared illegal.

The liquidators not only want the crypto scam, spearheaded by Johann Steynberg and Clynton and Cheri Marks, to be declared an illegal scheme, but is also asking the court to declare that it was a Ponzi and pyramid scheme, that no actual trading happened, their so-called artificial trading bot was a scam, and MTI was insolvent.

If the scheme is declared illegal, the winners, who got more out of the scheme than they put in, will be required to pay back all their winnings, to refund the losers, who ‘invested’ money but lost all or some of it.

According to a press release issued by the liquidators, the court gallery was packed with some winners of the MTI scam, but in the afternoon session, the public gallery was nearly empty after the Sheriff of the Court wanted to serve some of them with summonses during the lunch adjournment.

Only one summons ended up being served to one of the winners, Nico Johannes van der Merwe.

ALSO READ: MTI Bitcoin scam kingpin Clynton Marks skimmed R30m in two months

Fight from masterminds to stop declaring MTI illegal

The liquidators’ court papers mention that the masterminds are trying every trick in the book to prevent the scheme from being declared illegal.

Adv. Sydney Alberts argued for Clynton Marks that, based on ‘material evidence’, trading did take place and tried to base this argument on ‘marketing material’ submitted.

Cheri Marks, also a mastermind and the wife of the vast “winner” Clynton Marks, was the marketing and communications director of MTI.

About a year after the application was filed, the matter was adjourned for further written submissions and judgement.

Meanwhile, Clynton Marks and Henry Honiball withdrew their urgent application against the liquidators, after the latter filed an answering affidavit. This matter was due to be heard in court on 30 May 2022.

The liquidators’ attorney, Sybrand Tintinger, confirmed that the withdrawal came at a late stage but welcomed the withdrawal, since it saves some costs for the estate and also removed the unmerited suggestion that the liquidators were not in control of the administration of the MTI estate.

However, he remarked, it is a pity that the estate should waste resources and funds on spurious applications typically brought by the biggest winners in the scheme. The second part of their application to remove the liquidators was postponed.

The liquidators of MTI also confirmed this week that they received the Master’s consent to convene a special meeting of creditors to prove approximately 1 000 more claims on 1 July 2022 before the Master Cape Town. Sars also informed the liquidators of a claim that will be submitted.

ALSO READ: Mirror Trading International liquidators claim R4,6 billion from 18 masterminds

Steynberg to stay in Brazil jail until extradition hearing

Meanwhile, MyBroadband reports that South Africa requested the Brazilian government to extradite former CEO Johann Steynberg for conducting financial services and a derivatives business without a licence, trading in financial products without a license, fraud, theft, and money laundering, according to a court order published on Monday.

Steynberg applied to the court to be released from precautionary custody because he is not a flight risk, saying he had been held for over 60 days, was not investigated for violent or other serious crimes, and had started a family in Brazil, although he left a wife and child behind in Polokwane when he disappeared in December 2020.

He also contended that there was no sufficient justification to show his case meets the requirements for extradition, but Brazilian supreme court justice André Mendonça ordered that he stay under precautionary arrest pending his extradition hearing.

Brazil law enforcement arrested Steynberg on 29 December 2021 during a joint operation between the Brazilian Federal Police and Interpol after he allegedly presented a fake ID when officers approached him in the city of Goiânia, the capital of the Brazilian state of Goiás.

The South African government had obtained an Interpol Red Diffusion (A–488/1–2022) on Steynberg.

Red Diffusions differ from Red Notices because they are less formal and circulated directly by Interpol National Central Bureaus.

NOW READ: Here’s why it’s not a good idea to hide your crypto gains from Sars