Bitcoin firm threatens Hawks with damages suit

BitCaw, a cryptocurrency specialist, is threatening the Hawks with a damages claim if the police agency doesn’t correct a statement it issued last week that it was involved in an investment fraud that affected more than 28 000 people and led to losses of more than R1bn.

The Hawks statement, released on Friday, said the allegations involve “BitCaw Trading Company, commonly known as BTC Global”. But BitCaw on Monday sent a strongly worded legal letter via its attorneys saying the statement is “factually flawed and incorrect in its entirety”.

“BitCaw Trading is a company registered in South Africa in February 2016, which began operating on 1 March 2016,” the letter, sent by top lawyer Ulrich Roux, said. “Having regard to the said ‘media statement’, it is clear that you have confused our client with BTC Global, a completely separate entity.”

“Members of the public are believed to have been targeted as part of the scam and encouraged by BTC Global agents to invest with promises of 2% interest per day, 14%/week and ultimately 50%/month,” the Hawks said.

According to a report by Bloomberg, BitCaw trading founder Andrew Caw said he was “shocked” that his company’s name had been linked to the alleged scam.

“BitCaw Trading assists people with buying and selling bitcoin as well as other bitcoin-related services. We do not manage third-party money or offer any kind of investment” and BitCaw didn’t set up BTC Global, Bloomberg reported Caw as having posted on Facebook.

In Roux’s letter to the Hawks, he said BitCaw Trading has assisted hundreds of people with buying and selling bitcoin, and educating them about the cryptocurrency. “BitCaw Trading does not manage or trade with third-party money or offer any kind of investment returns. BTC Global, on the other hand, was/is a bitcoin investment company and has nothing to do with our client.”

Roux said BitCaw was not contacted by the Hawks, or anyone in the police service, regarding the investigation and is “shocked that its brand has been connected with BTC Global and the press release which surfaced on Friday”.

‘Severe financial damage’

“It is our instructions to demand, as we hereby do, that you make another ‘media statement’ in which you confirm that you retract the incorrect reference to our clients’ business in relation to your investigation, as your incorrect ‘media statement’ has already caused severe financial damage and prejudice to our client and continues to do so,” Roux wrote.

“Should you not post the retraction … by close of business on Tuesday, 29 May 2018, our instructions are to approach the … high court (in Johannesburg) on an urgent basis in order to enforce our clients’ rights. You will
be held liable for all costs associated with said legal action.

“It is further our instructions to launch a damages claim against you as a result of the false and misleading ‘media statement’ dated Friday, 25 May 2018.”  — (c) 2018 NewsCentral Media