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Steynbergs of MTI provisionally sequestrated

And still no sight of the missing CEO.
Image: Supplied

The Polokwane High Court placed Mirror Trading International CEO Johann Steynberg and his wife Nerina in provisional sequestration last week.

The application was brought by the five joint provisional liquidators on MTI. The provisional sequestration order was served on the Steynbergs’ residential address at Eagle Crest in Polokwane, Limpopo Province.

Where is Steynberg?

Johann Steynberg, missing since December last year when MTI investors’ attempts to withdraw funds went unanswered, is believed to be hiding out in Brazil or Panama.

Read: MTI CEO goes AWOL, lawyers pull out

The Steynbergs, or any other interested party, have until the return date of July 20, 2021, to give reasons why final sequestration should not be granted on that date. A copy of the court order was also delivered to the South African Revenue Services.

MTI was placed in provisional liquidation in December last year when investors tried without success to withdraw funds from the scheme. Chainalysis declared MTI the world’s biggest scam of 2020. MTI will be back in court next month as certain investors try to save it from final liquidation and rather put it under business rescue or restructure its debts in terms of a Section 155 compromise under the Companies Act.

Read: MTI final liquidation hearing postponed until May

Neither the joint provisional liquidators nor the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) sees much chance of the company being saved from liquidation.

Riddled with red flags

MTI was riddled with red flags from the get-go. Johann Steynberg was listed as the sole director and CEO.

Yet despite the reported size of investments flowing into MTI (23 000 bitcoin, which is currently worth about R18.4 billion), there were no published annual financial results as required by the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC), no board, and no governance structures in place.

The company offered returns of up to 10% a month. Investors had to ship bitcoin to MTI, which placed the company’s financial flows beyond the control of the banking sector. The promised returns would then be generated by a computerised algorithm, but when the FSCA investigated this, it could not find any evidence of it.

The real success of MTI was its use of multi-level marketing to attract new customers.

Public was warned

Though the FSCA warned the public to get their money out of MTI in August last year, this appeared to have little effect on the rate of new investor sign-up. That was until it all came crashing down in December last year.

Last month MTI liquidators managed to sell roughly R1.1 billion in bitcoin that it had been able to recover.

It is as yet unknown how much will be recovered from the estate of Johann and Nerina Steynberg. The liquidators say they have a better understanding of where some of the MTI assets may be stashed, following a Section 417/418 inquiry in terms of the Companies Act to help track down and recover assets in insolvent companies.

Liquidators have urged MTI members to lodge their claims at www.investrust.co.za

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COMMENTS   8

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People knew it was a Ponzi scheme and they still invested hoping to get out early.

Sadly, thousands if not millions are overdependent on the world and all it’s promises resulting in

“A fool and his money are soon parted”

Incidentally, perhaps one of the biggest scammers of all time, Bernie Madoff, died in prison last week. Even with his scamming, people and famous once at that, lined up in their droves to be scammed by a multi layer investment, the classic Ponzi Scheme

And they still do it! Is it greed or stupidity?

Maybe it is desperation, who knows?

It is an art or science on how to fool a group of wealthy individuals or the masses out of their money.

I believe that we are not educated enough about it during high school or tertiary education.

Government should also do more, for example close suspicious “investment” companies at the early stages and impose harsh penalties.

Perhaps introduce a R100,000 reward for information about start up Ponzi schemes.

But is Bernie really dead? I can see a scam artist like Bernie escaping from prison in a coffin!!

If they profited from it, they will be liable to return profits to compensate those who lost out. The reason why people continued to invest was most likely reach of the FSCA message. Besides this website I did not come across the warning anywhere in my day to day life.

Lodge your claim at “investrust” Oh the irony….

And all the MTI Senior Management???

They made millions, spent like drunken sailors and now have enough time to hide what’s left??

TSK!!!

End of comments.

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