Brazilian Judge Dismisses Bitcoin Scam Mastermind’s Attempt to Block His Extradition to South Africa – Johann Steynberg, the mastermind of Mirror Trading International (MTI), one of South Africa’s biggest cryptocurrency scams, recently had his precautionary detention revoked by a Brazilian judge.
According to reports, the MTI chief executive argued in his plea that because no formal extradition request had been made, the court should put him under house arrest.
Steynberg maintained that there was no pending warrant for his arrest when he departed South Africa in December 2020, and that the case itself failed to meet specific standards that would allow extradition.
Steynberg had also indicated in the document disclosed by the Brazilian judiciary that he had established a family in Brazil and that placing him under house arrest would suffice.
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Judge Andre Mendonça of Brazil’s Supreme Court, on the other hand, rejected Steynberg’s arguments in his ruling. South African authorities had “submitted documentation aimed at formalizing the extradition request on April 14, 2022,” according to the judge.
A warrant for Steynberg’s arrest was also “issued on 03/01/2022 by the Justice of South Africa, as evidenced by Interpol’s Red Diffusion documents,” according to the judge. According to reports, the MTI CEO was being investigated for his role in the bitcoin scam when he left the country, according to a document given by the South African Public Ministry.
Steynberg had given control of MTI funds to his wife Nerina before disappearing in late 2020, as previously reported. Nonetheless, by the time he was arrested by Brazilian authorities in December 2021, the former MTI mastermind was rumored to be dating a Brazilian woman.
Mendonça responded to Steynberg’s attempt to use his close relationship with the unknown woman as a reason to block his extradition:
“The fact that the individual who is being extradited has formed a family in Brazil does not prevent the precautionary arrest and subsequent extradition. The Attorney General’s Office states that the rule in extraditions is the precautionary arrest, due to reciprocal respect between jurisdictions.”
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Brazilian Judge Dismisses Bitcoin Scam Mastermind’s Attempt to Block His Extradition to South Africa – The judge went on to say that Steynberg’s possession of fake identity documents at the time of his arrest indicates that he had the “intention to dodge possible criminal liability.” The judge’s decision also suggests that if the court grants Steynberg’s request for home arrest, he may still breach the conditions of the order.