The Rijeka company BitLucki, for trading cryptocurrencies, of director Luka Burazer, allegedly damaged almost a thousand investors.
Source: jutarnji.hr / Filip PavićSaturday, 20.05.2023. | 14:44
Almost a thousand investors were damaged for at least 70 million euros in cryptocurrencies.
The business collapse of BitLucki, a company from Rijeka unknown to the general public, is already being called “the biggest crypto scam in Croatia”. Several interlocutors confirmed for Jutarnji that Burazer, a thirty-year-old director and well-known face of the domestic crypto community, “cleaned” all the company’s accounts, that the investors’ money disappeared, and that he allegedly hid in an unknown location in Lika. His clients and investors, as we learn, informed the police about everything and hired lawyers.
Yesterday, Burazer sent a heartfelt email to all BitLucky customers, who invested money with him with the promise of high earnings on cryptocurrency trading. “Dear clients, with a series of bad trades and decisions, unfortunately, I have brought the state of the company into a crisis situation. We will have more information in the coming days,” the message addressed to clients states.
Turned off the phone
We contacted him, but the young director has turned off his phone, does not respond to emails and has deleted all his social media profiles. The same situation is with the co-founder of the company, procurator Eugen Travalja. To several investors, who called the company in Rijeka, the secretary allegedly said on the phone that “the director went crazy and spent all the money.”
We also contacted the Ministry of Interior, asking if they have information about the case and how they plan to handle it, given that the CNB considers that cryptocurrencies “have no value” and that they have no jurisdiction over the operations of crypto-companies. The Police Administration of Primorsko-Goranska replied that they “have information” and that “a certain number of citizens approached them about this issue”.
“Data is being collected in order to determine the elements for taking measures and actions that would be the responsibility of the police,” they say, referring to the secrecy of the investigation. The news about the crisis in BitLucky and the lost millions was first leaked in closed groups on Discord, an application for the gaming community, then on Reddit, and then everything was published by the Crypto News portal. The editors of the Kryptovjesti portal speculate that Burazer lost at least 70 million euros to its clients.
Up to 800 people were injured
“This is also a conservative estimate. According to our information, at least 700 to 800 people have been damaged. It seems that a third of the clients do not even know about the news that the company has failed,” said the editorial office of Crypto News.
However, according to public data, the company founded in 2018 in Rijeka records a turnover of HRK 4.5 million in revenue and total assets of HRK 15 million in the 2021 report.
BitLucky’s business model was simple. Clients would give Burazer money, and he would further invest that money in cryptocurrencies. The smallest stake, we learn, was around HRK 15,000, but allegedly there were also clients who invested up to 700,000 euros in Burazer. He promised investors 5 to 25 percent monthly profit.
“In the beginning, these were rather unrealistic promises. It seems that it is probably a planned fraud, a ponzi scheme,” says Cryptovijest.
Namely, Burazer undertook to invest only 20 percent of the total investment to the client, but at one point he gave up on that. Over the past year, when business has gone downhill, clients have been encouraged to keep their money in BitLucky as long as possible and not claim payouts because “now is the right time to invest.”
At the same time, everyone describes Burazer as a guy who did not give the impression of fraud. He is said to have a good understanding of the movement of money, the state of world finance, and often successfully predicted the ups and downs in the value of cryptocurrencies. He was a well-known member of the domestic crypto community, a frequent participant of various conferences, round tables and crypto meetings.
“But there was a ‘line of flags’. Let’s say, he never wanted to appear in the media, he didn’t want his pictures to be seen on portals,” the editor of Kripotvijesti told us.
Domestic investor and crypto-enthusiast Hrvoje Prpić, on the other hand, says that he suspected from the beginning that the entire Burazer operation could be a Ponzi scheme, that is, a fraud in which the businessman promises large revenues, but counts on the fact that the client will not withdraw his money.
“So, he paid the profit of another client by investing one client. They promised a plus of 5 to 25 percent per month, and it is not realistic to make such a profit and now it turns out that it is a fraud,” he told Jutarnji Prpić, who is all posted on Facebook.
He states that he himself has never invested in Burazer, although he knows a lot of people who invest in crypto, and yet they decided to invest some money with him. “Some of them made money, but it could not last long,” he says.
The whole situation surrounding the Rijeka crypto fraud is irresistibly reminiscent of the recent fall of the American cryptoguru, 30-year-old Sam Bankman Fried, who was arrested for fraud at the end of last year. It turned out that the assets of his crypto exchange FTKS were fictitious and he was using other people’s money to cover other people’s money (and personal expenses), in a typical Ponzi or pyramid scheme.
We’ve also reached out to UBIK, the local Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Association, who have also weighed in on the whole story, and we’ll post their statement when we get it.
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