BLIND AS BANKERS
One of the recurring questions people ask about Barry Tannenbaum’s ponzi scheme is: How come it managed to operate for so long – for two years at least – with such extraordinary cash flows from one to another of a circle of bank accounts, both on- and offshore, without the banks raising the alarm?
Rand Merchant Bank, it transpires, did alert the Reserve Bank to something strange going on. But similarly spectacular things were happening in the Investec Private Bank accounts of Tannenbaum’s favourite agent, attorney Dean Rees – without raising any eyebrows there.
Kamini Moodley and Peta Jane “PJ” Muller are “private bankers” at Investec in Sandton. They were responsible for the management of Rees’s accounts with that bank, one named Dean Rees Attorneys, the other Suscito Investments (Pty) Ltd. Both were constantly awash with ponzi money, showing credit balances of R10m or more.
On scrutinising several bank statements for those accounts, noseweek was disturbed to discover six transactions related to these two ladies personally: First, it appears Miss Muller was so enamoured of the scheme being operated by her clients, that she personally invested in it; R250,000 on 9 September 2008, and a further R450,000 on 19 November – a not insubstantial sum for a junior bank manager to invest.
Next we find that on 17 November Miss Moodley received a personal payment of R25,000 from Mr Rees, while, on the same day, Miss Muller received a payment of a neat R50,000 from Mr Rees.
On 26 January Miss Muller received another R50,000 payment from Rees, and on 5 February 2009 Miss Moodley received a further R75,000 from him. Maybe coincidentally, each then received a neat R100,000 from the local kingpin of the scheme.
Might these transactions have blinded them to the obvious, and made them reluctant to do their duty in terms of the law?
Miss Moodley has not responded to our messages – she is on leave from the bank – and Miss Muller referred us to Mr Till, head of “Risk” at the bank, for comment. Indeed. Mr Till was in meetings for days and did not return our calls. The same applies to Mr Cronje in “Recoveries”, who, we were gaily informed by the staff member who answered the telephone, “is quite involved with noseweek”. A third attempt to get comment – this time from the two ladies’ immediate boss, Richard Towell, was similarly unsuccessful. Dear reader, draw your conclusions.
There are two more entries in that bank statement that might suggest the same sort of foresight on Mr Rees’s part:
On 19 December 2008, as The End loomed large, Mr Rees, always a charitable man, made a donation of R125,000 to the SA Police Widows and Orphans Fund.
It’s only later that a charge of R27,761 to Rees’s Suscito account catches our eye. Dated 15 May last year, it bears the annotation “Zuma London”. (On the same day Rees paid a R67,484 bill at London’s Carlton hotel.)
Is that a dagger I see before me?
Don’t miss our next thrilling instalment.
A TIME TO PREY - AND A TIME TO PAY
Siemens South Africa hasn’t yet got around to answering the tough questions we put to them (see page 10). A week was not enough. We hope a month will be. The company has had a torrid time in Germany and the US, where it managed to pull through by paying massive sums in legal fees and massive fines. What they maybe don’t understand – or don’t wish to contemplate – is that it doesn’t settle anything for us, the true victims of their corruption. We are the ones who, for decades, have paid 20% to 40% more for our electricity, rail and telecommunications infrastructure, as a result of their corrupt practices. Tot it up, and you will find that Germany has benefited by billions, while we are now faced with riots in Mpumalanga because of our inability to afford the most elementary services, inter alia because of having to service the massive foreign debt attributable to the inflated prices we have constantly had to pay.
Before they can expect reconciliation, we want the truth – and maybe even compensation. Is that such a terrible thing to ask? Germany does not need the billion Euros fine paid by Siemens – the third world victims, the victims of the crime, do. We also demand to know which of our leaders and public officials they have corrupted, so that we, too, can clear out the muck.
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