Tigon fraud accused ordered to divulge R150m Shawcell deal
Judge Brian Spilg ruled last week that Tigon-accused Sue Bennett must – on 20 May – put forward her version about using R150m of investors’ money to buy millions of ‘worthless’ shares in Shawcell, a listed company and subsidiary of Tigon.
A Moneyweb report notes Bennett and her co-accused Gary Porritt are standing trial on more than 3 000 charges including fraud, racketeering and contravention of the Companies Act, Income Tax Act and the Securities Exchange Act.
Bennett is currently cross-examining the state’s first witness, Jack Milne, who is the former CEO of Progressive Systems College (PSC). It ran an investment fund called Progressive Systems College Guaranteed Growth Limited (PSCGG) that was underwritten by Tigon.
He earlier testified that he, Porritt and Bennett conspired from the inception of PSCGG to defraud investors.
Bennett questioned Milne at length about earlier correspondence between him and Arnold Basson, an investor in PSCGG who eventually, together with co-investor Johan Borstlap, applied for the liquidation of PSC. According to the Moneyweb report, Bennett confronted Milne with a letter from him to Basson, in which he responded to questions about bad publicity and litigation relating to Tigon. He admitted that he told Basson in the letter that PSCGG was invested in the bond market, even though he denied earlier during the trial ever having said the fund invested in bonds.
Milne said at the time of his testimony that he believed his statement was correct and had forgotten about the letter. Bennett repeatedly asked Milne whether he gave the correspondence with Basson to the state and the PSC liquidators. When questioned by Spilg, she said her line of questioning went to the credibility of Milne as a witness and prejudice by the state against her and Porritt.
Spilg warned Bennett that it does not assist her case to show that Milne was lying at the time. He said Milne’s version was that it was indeed a fraud and he implicated Porritt and Bennett as party to it. Spilg then asked her what the relevance of her line of questioning would be if it were to be demonstrated that the R150m PSCGG raised from investors was traceable in the hands of her and Porritt. He nevertheless allowed her to continue.
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