Central African Republic Arrests Crypto ‘Rug Pull’ Mastermind as Associates ‘Flee Country’

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read
A keyboard whose Enter key is decorated in the colors of the flag of the Central African Republic. Several metal tokens, some of which are decorated with the Bitcoin logo, rest on and next to the keyboard.
Source: luzitanija/Adobe

Police in the Central African Republic think they have captured one of the alleged masterminds behind an apparent rug pull that left “hundreds” of citizens out of pocket.

Investors, including high-level politicians, senior civil servants, and traders, say that the operators of a fast-growing crypto firm named Clé du Succès (“key to success”) “vanished overnight” with their money.

But the media outlet Journal de Bangui reported that “law enforcement forces” arrested a man named Bryan Ndikum, a Cameroon national, in Berberati.

Police think Ndikum and his associates ran Clé du Succès from Bangui, the CAR capital.

A photograph of Bryan Ndikum, thought to be a Clé du Succès executive, published by the media outlet Journal de Bangui.
A photograph of Bryan Ndikum, thought to be a Clé du Succès executive, published by the media outlet Journal de Bangui. (Source: Journal de Bangui/Screenshot)

And they believe that Ndikum had been dispatched to Berberati to establish a regional Clé du Succès office.

But they think that Ndikum’s associates, described as Nigerians and Cameroonians, have “already left the country.”

Officers said Ndikum and others had “launched an advertising campaign” focused on “cryptocurrency.”

Ndikum is yet to be indicted, but is likely to face “fraud and breach of trust” charges, the media outlet reported.

Central African Republic ‘Rug Pull’ – Will ‘Masterminds’ Face Justice?

The alleged scam operators used Bitcoin (BTC) logos in their marketing materials, and told would-be investors that they “stood to earn 20% on their stakes.”

However, following fake reports of an “armed attack” 17km outside the capital, the Clé du Succès executives reportedly vanished without telling anyone, seemingly taking over $1.6 million worth of crypto and fiat with them.

Even staff members at the firm appear clueless about what happened to the executives.

Media outlets reported that the company’s office “doors have been closed” for over a week, with both the company’s staff and customers “plunged into deep uncertainty.”

Crypto has been a hot topic in the CAR for some time.

Adoption in the country, as well as the greater Sub-Saharan Africa region, has been on the up for several years.

A graph showing crypto transactional volume by transfer size in a range of global regions between July 2022 and June 2023.
Source: Chainalysis

And last year, the nation’s government announced the adoption of BTC and other coins as legal tender.

The move was seen as a watershed moment for Bitcoin, following a similar move by the pro-BTC government of El Salvador.

But bitcoiners’ celebrations were short-lived: Less than a year later, the CAR National Assembly repealed the decree.