/ 24 February 2011

Legal woes with ex-business partner

Trifecta director Christo Scholtz is embroiled in a legal battle with his ex-business partner’s widow, who claims he cheated her family out of her dead husband’s stake in the company.

At the time of his death in a plane crash near Kimberley in March 2009, Sarel Breda’s Shosholoza Trust held 55% of Trifecta Investment Holdings to Scholtz’s Casee Trust, which held 45%.

According to a court application lodged in the North Gauteng High Court last year by Breda’s widow, Lanel, Scholtz subsequently purchased Shosholoza’s stake, but acted in bad faith by concealing the true value of the company.

Instead of the R148-million Breda now believes her husband’s stake was worth, Scholtz agreed to pay her R42-million.

In addition, Breda claims that Scholtz has withheld a R110-million life insurance pay-out from her.
Breda is asking the court to void the transaction and compel Scholtz to return her husband’s 55% stake.

Scholtz has denied the allegations, saying that his valuation of Breda’s stake “was fair and
reasonable, if not generous”.

The court is scheduled to hear the case next year, but this week heard an urgent application by Breda’s attorney to place a conditional interdict on Trifecta to prevent it from dissipating its assets in the interim.

Evidence placed before the court includes share certificates that show that Scholtz’s Casee Trust transferred 100% of its shares to Yolanda Botha’s family’s trust in August last year.

This means that Botha’s family holds far more than the 10% stake in Trifecta the M&G reported two weeks ago.