The CFTC has informed the court it intends to serve Johannes Steynberg through the Hague Convention.
The CFTC’s intentions were tendered in a July 28th Status Report, following unsuccessful attempts to serve both defendants.
Mirror Trading International is a collapsed Ponzi scheme run out of South Africa.
After fleeing South Africa, MTI CEO Steynberg was arrested in Brazil in late 2021.
In their report, the CFTC details attempts to serve MTI and Steynberg (right).
The CFTC understands that Steynberg was arrested in Goiȃnia, Brazil in December 2021 and remains incarcerated at Núcleo de Custódia do Complexo Penitenciário de Aparecida de Goiȃnia as he awaits extradition to South Africa and/or the United States.
The CFTC does not know how long Steynberg will remain in custody in Brazil, and/or the timing for his release or extradition.
I should note the CFTC mentioning the US as a possible extradition destination isn’t first-hand information. It’s based on a cited June 2022 news report.
Through its research, the CFTC discovered a June 6, 2022 Brazilian court decision denying Steynberg’s request for release from prison in Brazil which lists three attorneys from the law firm of Saad & Lima in São Paolo, Brazil as his local counsel.
After discovering the identity of Steynberg’s local counsel in Brazil, the CFTC made efforts to serve Steynberg through the law firm of Saad & Lima and emailed Steynberg’s counsel at this firm inquiring as to whether counsel would accept service on Steynberg’s behalf.
Steynberg’s Brazilian attorneys have thus far failed to respond to the CFTC’s enquiries.
In addition, the CFTC made efforts to serve Steynberg through his last-known counsel in South Africa from the law firm of Ulrich Roux and Associates located in Sandton, South Africa.
On July 25, 2022, attorney Ulrich Roux responded to the CFTC’s email inquiring as to whether counsel represents Steynberg in this action and whether counsel would accept service on Steynberg’s behalf, stating:
“My firm acted on behalf of Mirror Trading International but we withdrew as the company’s attorneys of record during December 2020.
I am not aware of any new counsel or attorneys that have been appointed.”
Ulrich Roux (right) was a great supporter of Mirror Trading International.
Roux and his disgraced law firm only abandoned the Ponzi scheme after it collapsed in late 2020 (and presumably payments stopped).
Finally, on July 25, 2022, the CFTC emailed copies of the Complaint, summons, and civil cover sheet to Steynberg at his last-known email address.
The CFTC’s email to Steynberg has not bounced back as undeliverable.
To date, the CFTC has not received any response from Steynberg regarding the CFTC’s email.
Due to the above unsuccessful attempts at service, the CFTC advises it
will begin the long process of formally serving Steynberg through the Hague Service Convention.
This process is expected to “cost thousands of dollars”, namely due to required translation of legal documents from English to Portuguese.
After obtaining the Portuguese translations, the CFTC will submit the required forms and court documents for service to Brazil’s Ministry of Justice and Public Safety.
The CFTC understands that it may take six months or longer for them to effectuate service on Steynberg and provide the
proper proof of service documentation to the CFTC.
Whether Steynberg, who is facing extradition, will still be in Brazil six months from now is unclear.
In the event the CFTC is unsuccessful in effectuating formal service on Steynberg through the Hague Service Convention and/or in the event Steynberg is released from prison and his whereabouts are unknown, the CFTC anticipates moving the Court to permit alternative service of process.
With respect to Mirror Trading International as a corporate defendant, the CFTC intends to file service through South African liquidators.
Through the assistance of the South African Financial Sector Conduct Authority (“FSCA”), the CFTC has identified the joint South African liquidators of MTI who are managing its assets.
The CFTC will be speaking with the legal representatives of MTI’s joint liquidators in the coming weeks regarding formal service of process on MTI and will file proper proof of service and supporting documentation with the Court as soon as possible.
MTI liquidation proceeds have, for the most part, gone nowhere and been increasingly depressing to cover.
While MTI victims continue to get screwed over by South African authorities, the Marks crime family (headed up Clynton and Cheri Marks, right), suspected owners and primary beneficiaries of MTI, remain at large.
In the event the CFTC is unable to effectuate formal service on MTI through its joint liquidators, it will file a motion with the Court for alternate service on MTI.
I’ll continue to monitor the CFTC’s MTI case docket for updates.