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Fidentia curators probe ‘significant entity’

Fidentia’s curators have been probing a deal involving ”a significant entity in the financial-services industry”, according to a report made public on Monday.

In the report, dated March 10, curators Dines Gihwala and George Papadakis detailed how they had recovered, or had firm agreements on, about R160-million of Fidentia cash.

They also listed a number of assets that still had to be sold, including the Sante Winelands Hotel and Spa at Franschoek, and Fidentia’s former headquarters in Cape Town’s Century City, for which they are seeking more than R53-million.

”There is also a transaction involving a significant entity in the financial-services industry, which may be liable to the curators in a transaction that appear[s] to be a sham,” they said.

”Inasmuch as the curators are still investigating this claim, they are reluctant to disclose the identity of such entity to ensure no reputational damage is suffered by such entity, just in case it turns out that the information at the disposal of the curators is unreliable and/or inaccurate.”

Former Fidentia boss J Arthur Brown is currently facing criminal charges related to the Fidentia debacle.

One-time Fidentia accountant/financial director Graham Maddock is behind bars after entering a plea agreement with the Scorpions, which involves testifying against Brown.

The curators said in their report that Maddock had undertaken in the plea agreement to pay them R6,3-million.

Of this they had so far received R2,8-million, from the sale of the Maddocks’ Constantia family home.

An associate of Brown’s, Louis Koen, had agreed to repay R10,9-million, and had so far handed over R3,2-million of this.

Johan Linde, who received R5,1-million as purported dividend and restraint of trade agreements, had paid over the entire amount to the curators.

These amounts make up part of the R160-million total.

The curators said summonses for similar payments, totalling more than R20-million, had been issued against Johan de Jongh, Hjalmar Mulder and Zacharias Brown.

Also unresolved were claims of R8,5-million against former Fidentia director Rudi Bam, R24,7-million against Brown and his wife, Susan, and R77-million against businesses formerly controlled by broker Steve Goodwin.

Goodwin was jailed two months ago, in another Scorpions plea agreement, after being apprehended in the United States.

Gihwala has previously said that the shortfall on Fidentia’s books could be as much as a billion rand.

The publication of the curators’ report, available on the Financial Services Board’s website (www.fsb.co.za), follows an order made by the Cape High Court last week. — Sapa

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