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‘Crypto Rug Pull’ Leaves ‘Hundreds’ of Central African Republic Investors ‘Penniless’

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read
The flag of the Central African Republic, mounted on a flagpole.
Source: firewings/Adobe

Police in the Central African Republic suspect a rug pull after the operators of a crypto firm “vanished overnight.”

The news outlet RFI reported that the Research and Investigation Section (SRI) of the National Gendarmerie (the CAR’s police force) have “launched an investigation” into the firm.

Prosecutors have also launched a separate investigation into the firm, whose operators – investors say – have disappeared without a trace, taking their money with them.

The company is named Clé du Succès (“key to success”).

Per an earlier report from Radio Ndekeluka, the nation’s finance ministry confirmed that the Clé du Succès company has registered with authorities and was this year issued with a tax identification number.

The firm reportedly gathered investment from “hundreds” of CAR residents.

Disgruntled investors were photographed outside an apparently abandoned Clé du Succès office on October 11.

Clé du Succès marketing material features coins emblazoned with the Bitcoin (BTC) logo.

RFI noted that the company is “managed by Cameroonian and Nigerian entrepreneurs.”

The media outlet added that the firm “promised its clients they could earn [gains of] 20% on their investments.”

Some investors are thought to have handed over their life savings to Clé du Succès.

The firm launched its operations in Bangui in September 2023, and spent “weeks aggressively campaigning in the capital and its surroundings,” attracting “hundreds of Central Africans.”

But after “rumors” of an “armed attack” 17km outside the capital on October 8, the firm’s operators allegedly “disappeared overnight without a trace.”

The individuals appear to have taken “several hundred million CFA francs” of investors’ stake money with them.

Corbeaunews reported that the scale of the losses at “over a billion CFA francs” – over $1.6 million.

A map of the Central African Republic.
A map of the Central African Republic. (Source: Peter Fitzgerald [CC BY 3.0])

Central African Republic: Crypto ‘Rug Pull’ Claims High-profile Victims?

The media outlet claimed that the long list of Clé du Succès investors includes “lawmakers, senior civil servants, traders, and craftspeople.”

The firm’s “doors have been closed” for over a week, RFI reported, with both the company’s staff and customers “plunged into deep uncertainty.”

Last year, the CAR government announced it had adopted BTC and other coins as legal tender, following in the footsteps of El Salvador.

CAR lawmakers meet in the National Assembly in April last year, when BTC was approved as legal tender.
CAR lawmakers meet in the National Assembly in April last year, when BTC was approved as legal tender. (Source: Gouvernement de la Centrafrique/Facebook)

Less than a year later, however, the nation’s parliament repealed the same legislation.

Observers think the CAR government may have been pressured into the decision by the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, a six-state economic union that includes CAR, as well as Gabon, Cameroon, Chad, the Republic of the Congo, and Equatorial Guinea.