There doesn’t appear to be any cohesion when it comes to Mirror Trading International’s liquidation proceedings.
Back in February nobody was recovering anything except owner on paper Johann Steynberg.
Then, on the assumption Mirror Trading International would be declared an “illegal scheme” (which for some reason hadn’t happened yet despite the FSCA stating publicly MTI was an “illegal operation” in December 2020), liquidators cut MTI victims a recovery deal.
For some reason submitted claims from net-winners were part of that deal, but liquidators promised to process claims from net-losers first.
Now, out of the blue, liquidators have summoned eighteen MTI employees to court.
As a group of net-winners, liquidators are demanding the scammers hand over R4.6 billion (~$291 million USD).
As reported by Jan Vermeulen from MyBroadband, eighteen identified employees “are “masterminds” of the scheme”.
The list includes:
- Johann Steynberg
- Charlie Ward
- Monic Coetzee
- Usher Bell
- Coenraad Rademan
- Clynton Marks
- Cheri Marks
- Tshidi Ramanamane
- Tom Fraser
- Liz Malton
- Romano Samuels
- Jaco Eckley
- Vince Ward
- Leonard Gray
- Andrew Caw
- Nerina Steynberg
- Gerald Lassen and
- Don Nikomo
“[The defendants] were at all relevant times aware of the fact that MTI was trading in insolvent circumstances as well as of the actions perpetrated and constituting fraud upon MTI’s creditors,” the summons states.
Consequently, they were all party to the fraudulent or reckless carrying on of the business of MTI, the liquidators stated.
Defendants must pay either the rand value, or the bitcoin value, whichever is higher at the date the order is made, the liquidators asked the court.
The liquidators also asked the court to institute penalties against the defendants equal to the amounts they must repay.
Therefore, if successful, the defendants will pay double the amounts listed below in addition to MTI’s R4.7 billion debt.
This sounds great on paper. How it’s implemented, what recourse the MTI scammers have in court to drag proceedings on and what happens if they just ignore it is unclear.
MyBroadband contacted suspected MTI owners and primary beneficiaries, Clynton and Cheri Marks (right).
Cheri Marks trotted out the “this doesn’t look right” cliche defense.
Marks said the court papers were served yesterday, and their lawyers are reviewing the documents.
“In the interim, we can say that there are some very concerning aspects of the application,” Marks stated.
“We have always denied the contention that MTI was trading fraudulently or recklessly with our knowledge.”
Rather than seize everything from everyone involved, appoint a single Trustee or Receiver, have them process victim claims and then make distribution payments to victims, South Africa has a convoluted liquidation process.
Not to take anything away from the process, summoning the net-winners sounds like a step in the right direction, but what this actually means for victims remains unclear.
Marks said until the proof required is placed in the open, a constant barrage of papers with contradicting amounts serves no one while the liquidators rack up unnecessary costs that they could use to pay members.
Mirror Trading International was a simple Ponzi scheme. People lost money to Marks and the rest of the scammers listed above. It’s not rocket science.
That Marks is still able to try on this defense, is testament to how ineffective South African authorities are when it comes to regulating MLM Ponzi schemes.