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Zimbabwean man in court for stealing cryptocurrency – first state-heard case, according to reports.

This is the first known instance of a case employing crypto that has been heard by the state.

A Zimbabwean bitcoin dealer named Lloyd Chiyangwa has reportedly been charged with stealing funds totaling more than $457,000 from one of his clients’ cryptocurrency wallets. The claimed occurrence involves Chiyangwa transferring money without authorization from the client’s cryptocurrency wallets.

This is the first known case using cryptography that the state has heard.

Prosecutors said that Chiyangwa is accused of stealing the money using the passwords and seed phrases he learned while helping the client set up their bitcoin wallets.

The digital assets were purchased by Chiyangwa’s client in July 2020 from an unnamed UK-based corporation, the Herald reported. Notably, the client lived in India at the time of the transaction.

The client asked the cryptocurrency dealer for help in 2021 when they returned to Zimbabwe to set up five wallets:

Trust Wallet
Cosmostation, and

To make managing and storing the client’s digital assets easier, these wallets were put up with their assistance.

Although Chiyangwa is charged with perpetrating the offence between October 2021 and March 2023, it wasn’t until May 2023 that the client attempted to conduct trading using the Trust Wallet that they realized the theft had occurred.

The report claims that Chiyangwa withdrew money from the client’s wallet seven times. The withdrawal with the largest value was $261,500, and the withdrawal with the lowest value was $5,155. It is said that Chiyangwa used the stolen money to buy two iPhones, a laptop, and a Mercedes Benz as he now faces allegations of theft and money laundering.

Prosecutors argued against releasing Chiyangwa on release at the hearing for his bail application, pointing out that he is a flight risk. They provided proof that Chiyangwa is in possession of two passports and two South African bank accounts, both of which were used to deposit some of the stolen money.

The Harare regional magistrate, Marehwanazvo Gofa, reportedly made the decision to hold Chiyangwa in custody as the court carefully considers his bail plea.

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