Sunday, December 18, 2011
Finweek reveals shocking findings about Treoc investment empire
HomeMedia NewsFinweek reveals shocking findings about Treoc investment empire
Published: November 2011
The Media24 special investigations unit in conjunction with Finweek have brought to light some troubling findings about the Treoc property investment empire.
Investigative journalism continues to educate, inform and go after those ‘groot skelms’
Bookmarks announces its online experts for its judging panel
In this week’s edition of Finweek, investigative journalist Jacques Dommisse highlights that Treoc Capital, part of the Treoc Group, has recently been identified as a pyramid scheme by the liquidation commissioner in an official hearing. The company also appears to have contravened the Banks Act.
This follows hot on the heels of a recent inquiry into Surf Trust, one of Treoc’s investors, which raised questions about information that the property group had been supplying to investors and banks.
According to Treoc marketing material the company has already made 1 000 millionaires and has about R5-billion in assets from South African investors. The company has also hinted at a listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).
“Finweek has a proud tradition of spotting many questionable investment schemes early on, including the likes of Sharemax, King Financial Holdings, as well as Edwafin, and I think it is worth investors taking a look at some of the points being raised,” said Finweek editor Marc Ashton.
Finweek is available in retail stores on a Friday or available for download from www.mysubs.co.za.
Polisie kry dik leêr oor groep
Des 18 2011 05:00
Des 18 2011 05:00
Kaapstad. – Klagte oor beweerde bedrog, die oortreding van die Bankwet, die bedryf van ’n piramideskema, roekelose verhandeling en wanvoorstellings deur die grootbaas en nog drie grootkoppe van die Treoc-groep is pas by die polisie ingedien.
Die Treoc-groep van die sakeman mnr. Coert Coetzee (56) van Somerset-Wes is sedert 2009 in die nuus weens omstrede sakepraktyke.
Coetzee is in sy hoedanigheid as ’n direkteur van Treoc Beperk en Treoc Capital verkla. Die ander teen wie klagte ingedien is, is mnre. Ian Deyzel (43), William James Fullagar (33) en Jose Alberto Delgado (41), wat almal huidige of voormalige direkteure van verskillende Treoc-entiteite is.
Klagte is ook ingedien teen die entiteit Treoc Beperk, wat voorheen as Treoc 102 Investment Consortium sake gedoen het – die hart van Coetzee se praktyke.
Treoc Capital was onlangs in die nuus omdat die maatskappygroep gelikwideer is en ’n likwidasie-ondersoek ingevolge die Maatskappywet gedoen is. Die kommissaris wat die ondersoek gelei het, het bevind Treoc Capital het onder meer die Bankwet oortree, ’n piramideskema bedryf en beleggers mislei.
Die klagte wat pas by die spesiale handelsmisdaadhof in Johannesburg aan die polisie oorhandig is, is deur mnr. Gareth Fisher in sy persoonlike hoedanigheid en as trustee van die Highlander-familietrust ingedien.
’n Verklaring van sewe bladsye en ’n verdere 113 bladsye met bewysstukke is aan die polisie gegee.
Ao. Dennis Brunette van die handelsmisdaadeenheid van die polisie het bevestig ’n dossier is geopen en ’n ondersoekbeampte sal aangewys word.
Tot etlike weke gelede was Coetzee nog volstoom besig om sy “unieke” eiendomsbeleggingsryk vir ’n notering op die JSE voor te berei.
Die Treoc-groep gebruik ’n uitgebreide stelsel van maatskappye om trusts te stig waarin die eiendom en skuld van beleggers gehou word. Coetzee roem hom daarop dat sy “Treoc Way” reeds meer as 1 000 miljoenêrs geskep het en sowat R5 miljard se bates bestuur.
Coetzee het persoonlik en deur middel van sy regsverteenwoordiger op die klagte gereageer. “Die beskuldigings is wat my betref net ’n verdere poging om mediadruk op my te plaas. Die feit dat Treoc Capital se twee uitvoerende hoofde sedert die maatskappy se stigting tot en met likwidasie (Delgado en Fullagar) nog nie deur die krediteure, die media of die likwidateurs gevra is vir hul mening oor die maatskappy wat hulle bestuur het nie, laat ’n mens wonder. Hulle was die mense wat die maatskappy en sy geldsake beheer en bestuur het,” het Coetzee gesê.
Mnr. BJ Kellerman, Coetzee se prokureur wat ook vir Deyzel verteenwoordig, het gesê voordat die polisie die klagte aan sy kliënte stel, kan hy nie reageer nie.
Volgens Kellerman is dit ’n voortgesette proses van die klaer om sy kliënte verdag te probeer maak en druk op hulle uit te oefen om geld by hulle te kry.
Delgado, wat Treoc in 2008 verlaat het nadat hy en Coetzee ’n “meningsverskil” gehad het, het gesê: “Ek is verbaas om te hoor dat ek by die gemors ingesleep word.
“Ek was nog nooit ’n direkteur van die maatskappy (Treoc Capital) nie. Daarom weet ek nie hoekom klagte teen my ingedien is nie. In geen stadium toe ek by Treoc betrokke was, het ek geld gehanteer en bestuur of ooreenkomste vir oorbruggingsfinansiering aangegaan nie, met die uitsondering van die verkryging van R6 miljoen by twee individue, wat hul geld teruggekry het.
“Coert Coetzee en Ian Deyzel het geld by die breë publiek gekry. Treoc Capital is te alle tye deur Deyzel en Fullagar bestuur.”
Delgado het gesê hy was nie ten tyde van die beweerde ongerymdhede ’n direkteur van Treoc Holdings of Beperk nie. Hy het Fisher met regsoptrede gedreig.
Fullagar het nie kommentaar gelewer nie.
Lees meer oor: treoc
BARRY TANNENBAUM TAKES S.A. MILLIONAIRES FOR A R2 BILLION PONZI IN THE PARK
Issue #116, 1st June 2009
On Friday last week Johannesburg businessman Christopher Leppan applied to the Johannesburg High Court to have Barry Deon Tannenbaum, until recently of Rivonia, declared bankrupt.
Barry is the famously pious son of Harold Tannenbaum, mega-rich son of one of the founders of Adcock Ingram, South Africa's second-largest pharmaceutical company.
Leppan told the court he had been persuaded to invest in what was supposed to be a hugely profitable scheme devised by Tannenbaum to finance the importation of raw materials required for the local manufacture of pharmaceuticals – so profitable that Leppan was promised a 20% return on his money every 12 weeks.
That's more than 80% per year.
Tannenbaum said he had advance orders from various major drug manufacturers, so there was no risk. The deal seemed so good that Leppan invested close on R3 million.
But when earlier this month he asked for his capital and interest – by now totalling R5m, Tannenbaum's cheques, drawn on his personal account at RMB Private Bank in Pretoria, bounced. The bank informed Leppan that Mr Tannenbaum – who has recently emigrated to Australia – had closed the account.
The court made an order placing Barry Tannenbaum's estate under provisional sequestration.
Nothing too remarkable there – until you learn that Mr Leppan is one of hundreds of South Africa's millionaires who have been caught out by Barry Tannenbaum and his representatives in the country's biggest ever cash pyramid or ponzi scheme.
Leppan says in his affidavit he was given the name of one man who had invested R30m. noseweek has the names of many others: one of them is former Pick n Pay CEO Sean Summers, who invested over R50m, and claims he is now owed over R100m. Just so he shouldn't feel too bad about it, the former CEO of OK Bazaars, Mervyn Serebro, invested R25m and believes he is now owed over R50m.
Between them, an estimated 400 investors are believed to have lost R2bn or more. All of it has disappeared, most of it via a Hong Kong bank account, to... well only Mr Tannenbaum and two or three of his local recruiting agents know where.
Many were so seduced by greed, that they emptied their offshore dollar and euro accounts into Mr Tannenbaum's account. Now they're frantically selling the fancy cars that they bought in a fit of euphoria only months ago. If you're looking for a good deal go to Investment Cars in Bryanston, who have a new stock of good-as-new Porsches, Lamborghinis, Rollses and Bentleys, only slightly used by Tannenbaum's victims, on offer. Poor Mr Serebro has even put his house up for sale.
Last Thursday about 200 of the investors attended a meeting at the offices of attorneys Routledge Modise in Sandton. The meeting was chaired by a partner in the firm, Warren Drue – who introduced himself as a fellow investor. There to represent a whole clutch of Cape investors who had invested over R100m between them were attorneys Craig Delport (see past noses about him) and Richard Goudvis. Surprisingly, also there to address them was Tannenbaum's main Johannesburg agent, attorney Dean Rees.
It has been estimated by some of those in the know that Rees made “hundreds of millions” out of commissions he earned by recruiting investors for the scheme. In February, when Tannenbaum had already defaulted on interest payments two months in a row and some investors had started asking nasty questions, Rees hired a private jet and flew to Switzerland with his wife and two small children. It is believed that shortly before that he bought a house in Lausanne for several million Euros, and another in Barcelona.
Last week he was back in Johannesburg and booked into suite at the Michaelangelo (R10 000 a night). He attended Thursday's meeting of disgruntled investors, apparently hoping to persuade them that he was as much a victim as they were, and that he was "on their side" in attempting to recover their money. Despite his best efforts – and attorney Drue's attempts to protect him from unsympathetic questioners, the majority of investors present clearly weren't going to take Reeses word for it. His Prada shoes, Ed Hardy Jeans ($1 000 a pair) and spectacular gold watch did not help the situation at all. (Friends say he has a collection of “investment” watches equal to that of the late great Brett Kebble.)
Immediately after the meeting Rees booked out of the Michaelangelo and was on a flight back to Switzerland.
Almost as well-known as a Tannenbaum recruiting agent is Daryl Leigh, who previously worked as a legal advisor for Nedbank Corporate and then for the Development Bank. Unlike Rees, he has taken to the shadows and is refusing to talk to anyone. Last year it became apparent that he had suddenly come into money when he acquired not only one but two Lamborghinis (their colour didn't quite match, so he paid an extra R120 000 to have them resprayed to match) -- and a Bentley. Two months ago he hit the headlines when he allegedly diced a friend in a Porsche down the William Nicol highway. The friend went off the road and was killed -- and Leigh now stands to be charged with culpable homicide.
So we have all the usual cowboys – why aren't we surprised to find the Lowenthals, father and son, in there with the best of them? -- but Sean Summers and Mervyn Serebro! John Storey of Cobalt Capital (and previously of Mcubed - see more about that in issue 89). Nic Pagden ex City Group (for a rumoured R40m)? Bruce MacDonald of Zenprop (said to be in for R50m)? Tim Hacker and Johnny Rosenberg? They all claim to have first consulted experts and auditors who assured them all was well! (How come the bankers handling this extraordinary flow of cash off-shore did not notice and ring the alarm bells?)
The bottom line: how come all these smart businessmen somehow, with all their lawyers and accountants, never got around to using some plain common sense and asking themselves: if Barry Tannenbaum can afford to offer 20% for an eight or ten week investment – secured by firm advance orders from South Africa's biggest generic drug manufacturer, Aspen, why wouldn't he take the same firm order contracts to his own bankers, RMB and Investec, and borrow the money there at an extravagant 4% for two months – and keep the remaining 16% for himself? Charitable feelings for his fellow millionaires?
And did any of them give a thought to the idea that they were confident of earning easy billions because of the implied vast profits to be made out of South Africa's desperate need for anti-retrovirals to deal with the Aids crisis?
Quite apart from the obvious questions which Messrs Tannenbaum, Rees and Leigh are going to have to answer, are the big questions that the public of South Africa will want all these legal experts and masters of finance and industry to answer. How do we face a recession with that level of business acumen?
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