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Cryptocurrency ‘mastermind’ denied bail again

2024-05-15  Roland Routh

Cryptocurrency ‘mastermind’ denied bail again

Windhoek Magistrate Monica Andjamba last week dismissed a bail application based on new facts.

The application was lodged by Haifeng Zheng, the alleged mastermind behind the cryptocurrency scam that involved about 80 Namibian students.

In April this year, after Andjamba dismissed an earlier bail application, Zheng lodged another application.

 In the new application, Zheng said his diabetes has worsened while in custody, and that he cannot get adequate medical attention.

Andjamba rejected this ground, and said it could be remedied by transferring him to the section for trial-awaiting inmates at the Windhoek Correctional Facility. With regards to his second ground that his wife, who is also an accused in the same case, is struggling to cope without him, he said this does not change the basis on which bail was initially refused, nor does it establish a new perspective that impacts the old facts. 

On Zheng’s proposal that his bail amount increase to N$200 000 from the initial N$100 000, and him reporting to the relevant authorities three times a day, the magistrate said this does not eliminate the State’s fears of abscondment, interference with State witnesses and investigations, nor does it cure the aspect of justice or public interest.

She ordered that Zheng be transferred to Windhoek Correctional Facility, and that the head of the facility ensure that he is seen twice a day by a medical doctor to have his sugar tested, and that his medicine is administered as prescribed. The prison authorities must further provide a place where Zheng can exercise regularly, and ensure that he is provided with a diabetic diet. 

Zheng, together with Jun, Fan Jia, Guo Linjie, Tango Muulyau, Haifeng Zheng, Li Zirian, Lin Shu Lin, Chen Wuyu, Neng Jun Wu, Wu Weiyang, Chen You Yi, Carlos Alejandro Batista Valdes, Toivo Herman, and Ghim Hwee Chris and Ang are charged with harbouring  students and forcing them to create false cryptocurrency profiles, with threats to their families.

Following the arrests, 163 computers, 350 mobile phones, six vehicles, 12 firearms, ammunition and cash worth N$19 500 were recovered. 

The total amount of the alleged fraud amounts to US$465 405.56 (approximately N$8.8 million). All the accused, except Tango Muulyau, Shi Zi Jun, Lin Shu Lin, Chen You Yi and Carlos Alejandro, remain in custody. Zheng was represented in the bail application by Gilroy Kasper, assisted by Kadhila Amoomo, and the State by Basson Lilungwe.

2024-05-15  Roland Routh

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