By way of the Hague Convention, the CFTC has informed the court that it intends to serve Johannes Steynberg.
Efforts to serve both defendants were unsuccessful, so the CFTC issued a July 28th Status Report outlining its intentions.
An insolvent Ponzi scam based in South Africa, Mirror Trading International is now defunct.
Steynberg was caught in Brazil towards the end of 2021 after escaping South Africa.
The CFTC outlines its efforts to help MTI and Steynberg in its report (right).
We have been informed by the CFTC that in December of 2021, Steynberg was detained by Brazilian authorities near Goiania, Brazil, and is currently being held in the Ncleo de Custódia do Complexo Penitenciário de Aparecida de Goiania, awaiting extradition to either SA or the US.
The CFTC does not know how long Steynberg will be held in Brazil or when he will be released or extradited.
According to the CFTC, the US is a probable extradition destination. However, this information is not first-hand. A referenced June 2022 news story is used as the basis for this.
CFTC’s investigation uncovered a Brazilian court ruling from June 6, 2022, which denied Steynberg’s plea for release from prison in Brazil and listed three attorneys from the law firm Saad & Lima in Brazil as his local counsel, which the CFTC identified via its investigation.
To serve Steynberg, the CFTC contacted the legal firm of Saad & Lima and sent an email to the firm’s Steynberg counsel, asking if the lawyer would accept service on Steynberg’s behalf.
The CFTC has been unable to get a response from Steynberg’s Brazilian counsel thus far.
CFTC also attempted to serve Steynberg through his last-known South African lawyer, Ulrich Roux, and Associates, based in Sandton.
It was on July 25, 2022, that attorney Ulrich Roux responded to the CFTC’s email, questioning whether counsel represented Steynberg in this case, and stating:
We represented Mirror Trading International as its attorney of record, but we withdrew from that role in December 2020.
My knowledge is limited to the appointment of new lawyers and legal advice. “
One of Mirror Trading International’s most enthusiastic supporters was Ulrich Roux (shown right).
After the Ponzi scheme crashed in late 2020, Roux and his humiliated legal company decided to quit it (and presumably payments stopped).
Finally, on July 25, 2022, the CFTC emailed Steynberg at his last-known email address copies of the Complaint, summons, and civil cover sheet.
The CFTC’s email to Steynberg has not been returned as undeliverable by the recipient.
Steynberg has yet to respond to the CFTC’s communication, and the agency is concerned.
The CFTC suggests that because of the previous failures to serve, it should not.
via the Hague Service Convention, Steynberg will be formally served.
Due to the translation of legal documents from English to Portuguese, this process is likely to cost “thousands of dollars.”
The CFTC will send the necessary papers and court documents to Brazil’s Ministry of Justice and Public Safety after receiving the Portuguese translations.
Because of this, the CFTC is aware that it might take them six months or more to serve Steynberg and deliver the necessary evidence of service paperwork.
Whether Steynberg will be in Brazil six months from now, when he is due to be extradited, is now an open question.
A motion to allow the alternative serving of process might be brought by the CFTC to court if it cannot serve Steynberg by the Hague Service Convention or if Steynberg is released from jail and his whereabouts are unknown.
The CFTC aims to use South African liquidators to serve Mirror Trading International as a corporate defendant.
MTI’s assets are being managed by a joint South African liquidator who was identified with the help of the South African Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA).
As soon as feasible, the CFTC will meet with the legal representatives of MTI’s joint liquidators to ensure that correct evidence of service and accompanying paperwork is filed with the Court.
For the most part, MTI liquidation revenues have gone nowhere and have become more and more dismal to pay.
There has been no action taken against the Marks criminal family (led by Clinton and Cheri Marks) as MTI victims continue to be ripped off by South African authorities.
Should its joint liquidators fail to serve MTI properly, the CFTC will file a motion for alternative service with the Court.
I’ll keep an eye on the CFTC’s MTI docket for any further developments.