Hawks preparing extradition request for MTI founder Johann Steynberg

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MTI founder Johann Steynberg was arrested in Brazil in December.
MTI founder Johann Steynberg was arrested in Brazil in December.

The Hawks are preparing an extradition request for Johann Steynberg, the head of liquidated bitcoin trading platform Mirror Trading International, who was arrested last month in Brazil a year after leaving South Africa. 

Steynberg was arrested on 29 December in Goiânia, the capital of the Brazilian state of Goiás. 

Brazilian police started investigating him last year after receiving a tipoff. He was monitored for a month before being nabbed for using false documents. 

Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Nomthandazo Mbambo said the unit is also applying for an Interpol Red Notice.

"His arrest in Brazil is solely on cases committed there," she said. "Investigation into the matter continues and not much information can be given until the matter has been referred to court."

An Interpol spokesperson said it does not comment on specific cases. 

Extradition or deportation?

This week Brazilian authorities said they were considering deporting Steynberg.

In correspondence seen by Fin24, Lucilene da Ressurreição Santos of the Goiânia Federal Police said Steynberg will be "deported because he is being investigated in other countries for other allegedly wrongful acts."

Extradition processes generally take far longer to conclude than deportation proceedings. 

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