On Tuesday, 19 January 2021, the FSCA announced that it has finalised its investigation into Mirror Trading International (Pty) Ltd (MTI) and will share its report with the liquidators appointed by the Master of the High Court.
- On commencement of its investigation in August 2020, the FSCA warned the public that MTI was not licensed to conduct the proclaimed business that they were conducting and that they were aware of the need for a FSP licence.
- On 17 December 2020, the FSCA once again emphasised that MTI was not licenced to conduct financial services and had not applied for such a licence. The Authority believed that MTI and its senior management were conducting an illegal operation, misleading clients and had contravened several laws.
Gerhard van Deventer, the FSCA’s head of investigations, told the media that it was an intensive six-month investigation in which they invested a lot of resources. He said they are now completely convinced that MTI was a scam and that there is no evidence of trading by an AI bot as it was sold to investors.
The FSCA stated that they understand that the liquidators are of the view that the funds or assets received by certain members of the public pursuant to investing with MTI, may be unlawful. The liquidators intend to recover such funds and assets from these investors – a course of action that the FSCA supports. Affected investors are requested to contact the liquidators in this regard.
The appointed liquidators are Mr. AW van Rooyen (Investrust Insolvency Practitioners), Mr. H Bester (Tygerberg Trustees), Mrs. J Barnard and Mrs. D Basson (Tshwane Trust Co). Anyone who intends to lodge a claim with the liquidators, or who has information that can be of assistance, may contact the liquidators through their websites. The websites will also be utilised to communicate information to the public.
Claim forms will be available on the websites within the next few days.
Although the main FSCA investigation has been completed, the Authority has opened a criminal case with the Commercial Crime Unit and will assist the NPA with its responsibilities. It will also assist the liquidators in completing the liquidation and subsequent distributions. The Authority is also working with foreign regulators to ensure that MTI’s unlawful activities are not perpetuated in other jurisdictions. The FSCA will now consider administrative actions to be taken against the individuals and entities involved in the matter.
Click here to read a media interview with the FSCA’s divisional executive of enforcement, Brandon Topham.
Carte Blanche also recently revealed how 300,000 members were duped out of their life savings as investigators tried to account for nearly 23,000 Bitcoin.