The mystery around the whereabouts of illusive Mirror Trading International (MTI) CEO Johann Steynberg has been answered.
According to Brazilian military police, he was arrested last week in the province of Goiás in central Brazil for using a false document.
Read: MTI liquidators chasing down an additional R2bn in ‘possible debtors’
Brandon Topham, head of enforcement at the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), says his team has been notified by South Africa’s Hawks of Steynberg’s arrest in the South American country.
Moneyweb reached out to the Hawks, but is yet to receive a response.
According to Brazilian press reports, the police found Steynberg in possession of two fake IDs, two laptops, a cell phone and six credit cards.
“The criminal was presented to the PF Superintendence to fulfill the international arrest warrant and fine for the crime of using a false document,” says a statement issued by Goiás military police.
“Credit cards, notebooks and false identities were seized.”
The suspect has been identified by the Brazilian press as Steynberg. He was arrested in the Alto da Glória region and taken to the Federal Police Superintendence in Goiânia.
It is almost a year ago that Steynberg fled South Africa, bringing the MTI bitcoin scam to a sudden halt.
MTI was placed in provisional liquidation in December 2020, and final liquidation in July 2021.
Hundreds of thousands of people around the world were sucked into the scheme which promised returns of up to 10% a month.
Investors had to send bitcoin (BTC) to participate in the scheme. Despite repeated warnings from the FSCA, the scheme grew into what was rated the largest crypto scam of 2020 by Chainalysis, due in large part to aggressive marketing and commissions of 10% on any new client introduced.
Read: MTI was by far 2020’s biggest investment scam – Chainalysis
Brazilian website Criptofacil.com reported that Steynberg was arrested in the Alto da Glória region and taken to the Federal Police Superintendence in Goiânia in central Brazil.
Goiânia captain Johnathan Andrade stated, first, the team was informed that a citizen was using false documentation. So, they monitored the suspect for two days, but during this period, did not make any approach.
“Then they understood that he was the suspect in carrying out billionaire financial fraud in South Africa,” the captain is quoted as saying.
“We tried to identify him first. We exchanged information with the Federal Police and, at the right moment, we made the approach. He presented false document in the approach. But as we already knew who he was, we took him to the Federal Police’s superintendence in Goiás”, explained the captain.
Andrade noted that the suspect is wanted by Interpol and the FBI.