The cryptocurrency space has had its fair share of scams and other cybersecurity incidents that have made it quite notorious. One of the biggest crypto scams to have occurred in South Africa involves a company named Mirror Trading International (MIT). The mastermind behind this scam was Johann Steynberg, the chief executive of the company. The CEO recently submitted an application for getting his precautionary detention revoked, but a Brazilian judge recently dismissed it.
Steynberg’s Arguments in the Application
The MTI chief executive reportedly said in the application that the court should put him under house arrest, as there has not been any formal request submitted for his extradition. Moreover, the scam’s mastermind claimed that he had left South Africa back in December 2020 and at that time, there had not been any warrants for his arrest.
Moreover, he also added that extradition was not possible because there were certain requirements that the case did not fulfill. The Brazilian judiciary released the document that Steynberg had submitted. He had also said in the application that he should be placed under house arrest in Brazil because he had started a family there.
The Outcome of the Application
However, despite the arguments presented by Steynberg in the application, Andre Mendoncarejected the application in his ruling. The supreme court judge in Brazil disclosed that documentation had been presented by the South African authorities on April 14thto put in a formal request for extradition. Furthermore, the judge also said that a warrant for the CEO’s arrest had also been issued in South Africa on 3rd January 2022.
The judge said that evidence of the warrant could be found in the Red Diffusion documents from Interpol. The Public Ministry in South Africa also sent in a document, which showed that the chief executive of Mirror Trading was being investigated for the role he played in the scam when he had left South Africa.
Steynberg Could a Flight Risk
Previous reports had revealed that Steynberg had given his wife Nerina control of the company’s funds before he disappeared in 2020. However, when he was arrested in December 2021 by the Brazilian enforcement authorities, he was found to be in a relationship with a woman in Brazil. Mendonca said that the mastermind of the MTI scam was trying to get out of extradition by using his relationship.
The judge said that just because he was starting a family in Brazil did not mean that arrest should be avoided, or extradition is not required. He asserted that the Attorney General’s Office dictated that this is how extradition is done because different jurisdictions have respect for each other. According to the judge, when Steynberg had been arrested, he had had fake identity documents in his possession.
This meant that there was a possibility that he may try to evade the charges against him. The ruling from the judge also hinted that Steynberg may try to do so if he is put under house arrest.