Sunday, July 29, 2012

FSB probe linked to double killing

FSB probe linked to double killing

( Jana Mrais ) 29 July 2012

The Financial Services Board has been investigating the activities of Herman Pretorius, who allegedly shot his former business partner, Julian Williams, before killing himself on Thursday.
" 'His death is a huge loss. This is a complete loss; a tragedy'Investors are nervously waiting to hear what has happened to their money.

In a letter to clients on Friday

from an Abante Group e-mail address, the company confirmed the death of Pretorius. "We are currently assisting the police with investigation and will provide the necessary feedback to our investors as soon as possible," read the unsigned letter, typed on a white page with no letterhead.

The sender, Tharine Swart, could not be reached for comment and did not respond to messages. Calls to the Abante switchboard were cut of

by the operator.

"We are eager to get some news on our investments," one Western Cape-based broker, who has invested his own and clients' money with Pretorius, said on Friday. "Many people around here have invested a lot of money with him and Polus Capital. I certainly hope our investments will be okay."

Pretorius allegedly shot Williams at the Basileus Capital head office in Cape Town on Thursday afternoon, ending a meeting that lasted about 90 minutes.

He fired two shots at Williams in the boardroom before shooting himself in the head.

Pretorius and Williams previously worked together at Abante Capital, which has reportedly been renamed Polus Capital, until Williams left to start a private equity firm Basileus Capital in 2008 with former Western Cape ANC chairman James Ngculu. Pretorius and some of his clients were also shareholders in Wesizwe Platinum, of which Williams was a founder.

Dawn Mokhobo, chairman of Wesizwe, described the deaths as a "tragedy". Williams, whom she had known for four years, was a "talented, very intelligent" person who could "simplify very complex business issues, particularly on the financial side.

"In board meetings, he would always be fiddling around with his cellphone or computer, which I initially thought was very disrespectful. I soon learnt that he didn't miss a word and, when he opened his mouth, he said things that were very substantial," Mokhobo said. "His death is a huge loss."

While she did not know Pretorius that well, he was an active shareholder in Wesizwe and also represented a group of wealthy investors in the company, Mokhobo said. "He was always a gentleman, and he struck me as a real good person. This is a complete loss; a tragedy."

It is understood there was a dispute between Pretorius and Williams about the non-payment of dividends by Avalloy, a Pelindaba-based manufacturer of superalloys .

According to the Avalloy website, Basileus held a 55% stake in the business through SA Superalloys, in which Pretorius allegedly sold preference shares to clients with the promise of lucrative dividend payouts.

A broker, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said SA Superalloys investors were not paid a promised dividend in March.

The FSB has no evidence that there is a link between Abante Capital, which is not registered with the entity, and Polus Capital, said German Anderson, deputy registrar: financial services providers.

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