South Africa investigates $80 million bitcoin scam - REUTERS
JOHANNESBURG, May 25 (Reuters) - South African authorities are investigating an alleged cryptocurrency scam that defrauded investors of 1 billion rand ($80 million) with promises of huge returns that never materialised, police said on Friday.
The fraud investigation involves a company named BTC Global, which told clients they would earn 2 percent per day, 14 percent a week and 50 percent in a month, the police said.
A search for the company on the internet showed its services had been suspended.
The website lists Steven Twain as the “primary trader”. A request for comment by Reuters sent to an email address listed on the website as belonging to Twain received no response.
“Members of the public are believed to have been targeted as part of the scam and encouraged by agents of BTC Global,” the police said in a statement.
“Some of the investors got paid in terms of the agreement. However, the payments suddenly stopped.”
Local technology news website mybroadband.co.za had reported in March that more than $50 million was lost by investors in BTC Global.
“This may prove to be the tip of the iceberg with potentially thousands more yet to discover they’ve lost money,” police investigator Yolisa Matakata said.
The investigation follows a case this week where kidnappers demanded a ransom in bitcoin of nearly $120,000 to release a South African teenage boy.
On Thursday South Africa’s central bank said it was in the process of determining whether cryptocurrencies complied with its financial surveillance and exchange control regulations. ($1 = 12.4837 rand) (Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana Editing by Joe Brock/Keith Weir)
Nigerian stocks fall to lowest level in more than four months - REUTERS
LAGOS (Reuters) - Nigeria’s main stock index fell to its lowest level in more than four months on Friday after shares in banking and consumer goods companies declined.
The index which fell for the seventh straight session, recovered some ground but closed down 1 percent. Stocks had fallen 1.28 percent in late trades, sliding to 39,213 points, a level not seen since January.
Offshore investors have been exiting local assets as yields on Nigeria’s treasuries have fallen to around 12 percent from as high as 18 percent a year ago due to government action to lower borrowing costs and U.S. interest rate rises.
Traders expect the bear market to continue, even as the capital flight has also put the local naira currency under pressure.
Stocks fell widely on Friday with 41 companies declining and 12 firms advancing. Julius Berger and Transcorp each shed 5 percent while Fidelity Bank fell 7.7 percent.
Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Toby Chopra
Contagion From the EM Sell-Off Spreads to Africa's Local Markets - BLOOMBERG
By Paul Wallace
Zambia among worst hit as currencies, bonds feel pressure
Nigeria’s naira at weakest since November even as oil rises
The rout that started in emerging markets last month is now roiling stocks and currencies across Africa.
The pain’s visible in foreign-exchange markets. While South Africa’s rand was hit early on, other less-liquid currencies are also under pressure. Most have reversed or pared the gains against the dollar they posted in the first quarter.
Zambia’s kwacha, in particular, is struggling. It’s weakened 8.9 percent since the end of March, among the worst globally. While investors were previously attracted by the kwacha’s carry returns, they’re now exiting a country struggling with what the International Monetary Fund described as a debt problem.
Egypt, Ghana and Kenya are also showing strain. Egypt’s stocks, which had risen steadily since the pound was devalued in November 2016, have fallen more than 9 percent since late April. Ghanaian equities were world beaters in the first quarter, but have since slipped along with the cedi, as have Kenya’s shilling and stocks.
Most African currencies have weakened since the end of March
Nigeria is another case in point. Despite Brent crude’s 15 percent rise in 2018 to about $80 a barrel, the OPEC member’s currency is under pressure for the first time this year. The naira has fallen to its weakest level since November on the black market and foreign reserves halted their continuous rise since September. The West African country’s main stock index is near a five-month low as international funds reduce their exposure, according to Exotix Capital.