Regulator wraps up probe into Bitcoin trader MTI, says it will aid prosecutors

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South Africa's financial market regulator is considering what actions to take against the people involved in Mirror Trading International, a Stellenbosch-headquartered cryptocurrency trading platform that was provisionally liquidated last month. 

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) said on Tuesday that it had completed its probe into MTI, which imploded in late December, after its offices were raided by authorities and it stopped paying out funds to tens of thousands of members. 

With its investigation done, the FSCA said it would move on to assisting the National Prospecting Authority "with its responsibilities", while also aiding the group's provisional liquidators in the "extensive task of completing the liquidation and subsequent distributions".

The regulator said it was also working with foreign regulators to "ensure that MTI’s unlawful activities are not perpetuated in other jurisdictions".

The trading platform is also the focus of a criminal probe by the Hawks. 

MTI promised lavish returns for investors via the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, but did not have a license top operate as a financial services provider. It also offered commissions for recruiting new members, one of the hallmarks of a multi-level marketing.

Its founder and CEO, Johann Steynberg, has not been heard from in over a month, and may have fled the country.

Before being provisionally liquidated, MTI's leadership denied it was a ponzi scheme, accusing detractors of being jealous of its success

Earlier this week the group's head of communications and marketing, Cheri Marks, told Fin24 that only its missing CEO, Steynberg, could explain what happened. 

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