Liquidators swarm MTI

Two applications for the liquidation of Mirror Trading International were filed in the high court on Wednesday by investors unable to withdraw funds.
MTI members interested in joining a liquidation application have been invited to signal their interest by the attorney representing one of the applicants. Image: Shutterstock

Just a day after confirmation that Mirror Trading International’s (MTI) CEO Johann Steynberg had gone AWOL, two applications were filed in the Cape High Court for the liquidation of the company.


Both cases were brought by MTI investors who have been trying to withdraw funds from the bitcoin investment scheme that promised returns of up to 10% a month.

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) issued a statement several months ago advising the public to steer clear of MTI and ask for their money back on the grounds that it was operating without a financial services provider licence and was making extravagant claims.

Rapid growth in membership

Despite the adverse publicity and FSCA warnings, the number of MTI members grew from about 80 000 to a reported 280 000 in the last five months.


One of the applications was brought by MTI investor Anton Lee and is likely to be heard on an urgent basis on Thursday (December 24).

Another application for MTI’s winding up, also before the Cape High Court, was brought by Steven Watkins who is owed R150 000 by MTI and has been unable to withdraw funds from his MTI account since December 21.

Watkins says he purchased bitcoin through the Luno crypto exchange in September and transferred it to MTI’s ‘pool account’ on November 30.

It was at this point that MTI’s computerised ‘bot’ purportedly began trading his funds. With the Christmas period approaching, Watkins decided to withdraw his funds and logged a request on MTI’s system on December 21.

“I became rather concerned about [MTI’s] apparent inability to process my withdrawal requests and began to make enquiries amongst other members that I know. These members have informed me that they are experiencing similar difficulties withdrawing their funds from [MTI],” reads Watkins’s founding affidavit.

He goes on to say that matters came to a head this week when MTI’s legal representative, Ulrich Roux & Associates, notified MTI investors that it had withdrawn as the company’s legal counsel due to the fact that Steynberg was uncontactable, and members were unable to withdraw funds as was previously the case.

Read: MTI plans countersuit after FSCA raid on offices and homes of execs (Oct 28)

It previously took just two days to process withdrawals, though at least one member with relatively large amounts of bitcoin told Moneyweb he has been unable to withdraw funds for months.

MTI ‘clearly unable to pay claims’

Both Lee and Watkins argue that their requests for withdrawal have gone unanswered and that MTI is therefore clearly unable to pay their claims, or the claims of other investors, and that it is just and equitable to wind up the company.

“Indeed, matters have deteriorated to the point where its sole director and self-styled CEO [Steynberg] appears to have absconded abroad and rendered himself uncontactable, whilst its erstwhile attorneys have withdrawn as such and let investors/members know that they are now assisting the FSCA in its investigations into [MTI’s] affairs,” says Watkins’s affidavit.

Jan Luitingh of Luitingh & Associates Attorneys told Moneyweb he has created a web page for other members to signal their interest in joining the Watkins liquidation case.

Those who want to sign up can do so here.

The Watkins affidavit says Steynberg is MTI’s sole director, and that MTI – while purporting to be a bitcoin trading platform and a way to earn passive income from cryptocurrencies – is “nothing but an illegal investment or ‘pyramid’ scheme”.

In his affidavit Watkins explains the referral marketing system and the three types of commissions or bonuses that can be earned from introducing new members.

The Watkins case was postponed today (Thursday December 24) until Tuesday December 29 to allow more time for other creditors to join the proceedings.

The story will be updated as more news becomes available.




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“Investors unable to withdraw funds”

Listen here: those chaps are far from what would be considered investors.

Financial banditry, racketeering and drooling greed always leaves the players exposed at low tide. Now we know who was swimming naked.

Yup. There is a massive difference between an investor and a speculator. Those who deposited with MTI can at best be called speculators, but I think even that is a tough ask. I think donors are probably a better term, since they were essentially donating money to the top dogs at MTI.

the cherrie ( SBOSCH Cherrie).. is on….. TOP… just on Bloomberg Business this very minute … “BITCOIN @ over 23K…. luckily @ US Dollar… and UP

“A fool and his money are soon parted”

There have been warnings about this being a potential pyramid scheme for months, since early 2020 at least, if not longer. Those who left their money ‘invested’ are either profoundly dof, or they are as guilty as Cheri Marks, by knowingly keeping their money ‘invested’, hoping that they’d be the few who’d benefit from others’ misery. No sympathy with either group, especially the latter, who are just as culpable as Johann or Cheri.

The liquidators are bandits in clerical robes. They are the vultures that circle a Ponzi-scheme. They will pick those bones bare and then they will move on the those who received benefits from the scheme. Those who applied for liquidation are compounding their errors in judgement. They will suffer further under the liquidation process if they have withdrawn any money in the past. Then there is the hyena called SARS that is laughing in the distance.

I believe Barry Tannenbaum, remember him? is still living the life of Riley down-under and SARS are no closer to prosecuting him

South African authorities could not prove to Australian authorities that Tannenbaum would not contract HIV in prison if they approved his extradition. The Aussies described a prison sentence in South Africa as a death sentence. He works as an Uber driver in Aussie because he lost all the money gambling. It was his gambling habit that motivated him to begin the Ponzi-scheme under the well-connected Johanneshurg elite who were friends with his father. A sad case.

He gave the BTC to MTI in November?! When did the FSCA first warn?

Months before that like march and June

But, what will they get out?

What if this guy has already taken the funds offshore? What if he has creditors or what if he owes SARS a lot of money?

Prevention is always better than cure.

That is the beauty of $Bitcoin$, you are free anywhere in the world.

You can go anywhere and spend your $Bitcoins$ for as long as you have the $Bitcoin$ wallets on a USB drive, Cell phone or a Laptop.

SARS? would you care about SARS or the TV license people when you are on the run with 17,000 $Bitcoins$ ? (R 5.1 Billion)

He is a Billionaire on the run from SA.

A lot of people will help and protect him with that kind of fortune!

Investors? Nay! Suckers! The whole bunch of them. And Anton Lee and Steven Watkins are now throwing good money after bad? (I’m sure these court proceedings cost money).

Another Ponzi/Pyramid scheme, why was this allowed to even start?
Good that the FSCA has been giving warning signs for months now,
but too late. How many Ponzi/Pyramid schemes have appeared in the last twenty years?

The investors will not get anything back, plus the lawyers will be contacting them to pay back the money, SARS might be contacting them as well in the next few months or years. That is what happened to the investors in the Krion Ponzi scheme.

”Justice must not only be seen to be done but has to be seen to be believed”

J.B.Morton (1893-1979)

Haha – you guys got scrwewd – due to your ignorance – remember gross ignorance is – 144 times worse than ordinary ignorance and these types of ignorance encyclopedic!

Look at the role of ” Little Drummer Girl ” Cheri Ward ! She was instrumental of herding the sheep to their haircut. Exactly like on her previous con scheme. Handcuffs please for the whole rotten lot !

It will play out in typical SA fashion.

A dysfunctional justice system will protect the crooks for years even decades to come. It will be dragged out for years maybe even decades.

Case postponed.

To give more creditors time to join?? Are the “investors” in this case called creditors? How is that even possible. Was any bodies intention honorable?


Is the judiciary helping the crooks with a bit more time to cover their tracks???

What did they find?

Not much, the bitcoins are gone on a USB drive or Laptop.

Maybe even on the cell phone.

Report him to Interpol.

if you can transfer bitcoin to a USB drive it proofs that it does not exist…imagine just transferring your JSE shares to USB….cant be done.

It will be easy to catch the MTI ceo.

You will require paid resources such as a dedicated detective, air travel, hotel fees and a few very good IT specialists at hacker level.

It will be easy to track a South African living the life of a rich man in Brazil or Dubai.

An ‘investment’ that promises 10% return per month is guaranteed to be a Ponzi scheme. People only have themselves to blame for falling, again and again, for such elaborate schemes. I cannot, unfortunately, feel too much sympathy for people that lose money under such circumstances, where greed overrules common sense. And how many of the 280,000 supposed ‘investors’ actually understand how Bitcoin works (I personally have no idea and no desire to learn)? Investing into a product that you do not understand is a recipe for disaster. I hope these people are able to recover at least a portion of their funds but I have my doubts. Bye from Abu Dhabi.

Yup. 9% pm equates to 182% per year. So your money almost triples every year. Not physically possible. I guess if you throw words in like ‘AI bot’, ‘crypto trading’, ‘forex trading’, etc. then you will be able to find enough people who believe in miracles. I agree with you, investing (or should I say speculating) in something that you don’t understand will always end in tears.

Whichever liquidator that gets appointed for this mess, it should be an INDEPENDANT one that has no ties to these scamsters. Hope investors can think for themselves for once and not drink the “transparency” coffee that they’ve been served all these months.

This is good old SA.

They will probably go for “Business Rescue” Whahahaaaa.

Quick question – why would your transfer BTC from Luno to MTI?

So that they can have their bot to trade with it and make your 2 bitcoin into 8 bitcoin after a while.

MTI provided an address which you would input at Luno and off it goes.

hopefully somebody other than steynberg has access to the bitcoin “investment” should he pass away or totally disappear from the face of earth

amazing to see how many experts pops up overnight in sa – from investors right through to farmers and any type of profession in between.

would like to know if steynberg was brave enough to “invest” his own hard earned money over years (if any) in the scheme / computerized ‘bot’ or did he personally stick to one or more of the old-fashioned banks???

i believe when investment results sounds too good to be true, it is not true, otherwise the world would not have a single poor person

It’s people like this that make Zuma and the Guptas think they can walk free. All these stynberg, joostes and van zyl’s

You wanted attention. I’ll oblige you:

1. Lesson – to help you not come across as an imbecile in future. The alleged scoundrel’s surname is Steynberg

2. When you want to refer to all these van der Merwes, Joostes, van Zyls, Potgieters, ag man choose any other Afrikaner surname etc. you use s and not apostrophe s, to indicate the plural.

3. Important life lesson: if you want to be an imbecile, don’t be a yellow belly on top of that.

And that goes to the 13 fools (running counter) who gave you a thumbs up

No thanks I’m good with stynberg

“No thanks I’m good with stynberg” …

That is the impression I got. It’s a thing that is troubling you, and your groupie-club, you seem too comfortable forming opinions and making generalizations based on half-baked and/or factually incorrect information. “If it kinda sounds right I’m good with it”, huh?

Don’t bother responding – rest assured I won’t in turn, as I have learned about as much from your (groupies: you’re included here) contribution as I ever will.

In a bitter-sweet twist, the price of an unmolested bitcoin a year ago was 7,200
and is today just shy 23,000

= 10% compound per month

In previous MTI commentary sessions some months ago, proponents to this scheme shunned the poor returns from commercial bank investments (and traditional asset managers)…as if they all “steal” money from traditional investors.

And MTI members argued you’d be stupid to ignore the trading bot’s incredible 8-10% (per month) return/profit.

Strange now then……NOT A WORD critisizing bank-products poor interest returns. Why so quiet?

(maybe too busy killing fires elsewhere? Why do ‘applicants’ want to take MTI to court, if they can’t withdraw? Don’t they know the game….you need to continue investing….remember, your BTC keeps growing on-screen. But you can’t have it.)

Oops, MTI have control of your Bitcoin wallets, you argue?

(Well, the Applicants must’ve forgotten that they gave control of their BTC-wallet to MTI…to make it grow. You cannot now approach the court to stop it….you GAVE EXPLICIT CONSENT to MTI of your wallet. So Johann S, Cheri M, Liz M, and all the uplines have the implicit authority to spend your crypto!)

Hence, happy spending for Johann S & other well-deserving MTI founders… gave so many people a ‘school fee / lesson about life’, which gets the message (now) harder across than any regulatory body could’ve done (which got scoffed at by your brainwashed members).

The ‘investors’ can no longer afford the data so they can’t comment, hahaha!

For the majority losing MTI-members, the saying would be “…IF something is to good to be true…”

And for the (minority) upline/founder members, when they look at their crypto wallets balances they now control, it is “This is really TOO GOOD to be true…but it IS true”.

Appreciate your efforts in giving hard life lessons to the greedy & gullible. The latter even shunned & criticised regulatory bodies for having vendettas against them. They did not listen to warnings from friends/family & regulators….so “pain” is the only way to learn.

For us older generations (mid-40’s +) …this is where you should’ve applied your wisdom.

For the younger generation, teenboppers, students at varsity, and young parents…this is a lesson to show what (human) life is all about on earth:
(i) to multiply & consume
(ii) to gain an advantage over your fellow man (be it wealth, or physical…clubbing someone to death) to his/her detriment.

…even with the current information age/crypto….life stayed the same since primitive days of the Flintstones.

Thank you MTI. Good lesson. Now looking forward what NEW ponzi schemes will arise in 2021….just to catch the same people again with a different enticement.

The poor investors are stuffed.

From a fiat view: after the lawyers and the liquidators are done there wont be a cent left.

From a crypto view: there may be a few wallets containing bitcoin but there is no way to get to that without the cooperation of the wallet owner. Once again, I dont see any investor getting a Satoshi from this route either

“Despite the adverse publicity and FSCA warnings, the number of MTI members grew from about 80 000 to a reported 280 000 in the last five months.”

So it would seem that instead of a sucker being born every day, the rate has escalated to one being born every minute.

After being plagued by many to invest in the wonderful MTI, I have smile on my face now reading this implosion.

For my every good reason to avoid MTI the “ investors” had 2 counter arguments.

I feel really bad I missed this great opportunity!

Where I grew up the saying goes “know who you are dealing with”, which applies both the mark and the con artist. I’m pretty sure the last thing this bunch of con artists have to worry about are the liquidators. Have a merry Xmas all.

It still breaks my brain how people could invest in this scam.

When i warned people about mti, i mostly got an emotional response, and that I was clueless.

I felt like an idiot warning people.

How could the same people run the same ponzi twice?

Maybe the pandemic left people so desperate and emotional unstable that if created a perfect storm for ponzis to thrive?

Why do mostly Christians fall for this? Believing in miracles seem to overshadow the “to good to be true” moral compass.

Can someome please explain.

End of comments.




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