The Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) has placed the estate of the late Nic Georgiou in provisional sequestration. If the order is made final, it may trigger an investigation into what happened to the R4.6bn that thousands of investors invested in the former Highveld Syndication Schemes.

Sydney Poole, one of the investors, launched the application for the provisional sequestration of Georgiou’s estate in 2021.

This after Georgiou failed to repay R4.4m due to him after the court ruled in his favour in 2018.

Moneyweb reports that the case stems from Poole’s investment in the Highveld Syndication 22 scheme (HS22), which included a buyback agreement in which Georgiou undertook to repurchase Poole’s shares five years later at double the original selling price.

However, HS22 and seven other Highveld Syndications went into business rescue in September 2011.

A section 155 scheme of arrangement later tasked a company, Orthotouch, to take ownership of all the HS properties and repay investors.

However, Orthotouch also experienced financial difficulty and was placed in business rescue in November 2019.

Judge HF Jacobs said the claims against the estate are substantial ‘and the dividend a sequestration order may achieve is argued to be rather small or insignificant at this stage but, proper inquiry by the trustee of the estate beyond what appears at face value to be available to creditors, might paint a different picture’.

‘To date hereof, such an inquiry has not taken place at all. In the exercise of my discretion in this connection, I am of the view that prima facie, the requirements for a sequestration order have been satisfied, and that would be to the advantage of creditors of the estate if it is provisionally sequestrated.’

The provisional sequestration order also means the assets in the estate will be placed in the hands of the Master of the High Court.

Advocate Louis Bolt, who acted on behalf of Poole, said his investigation revealed that Georgiou owned significant assets and that he ‘managed to conceal any number of assets in various ways’.

A hearing into why a final sequestration should not be granted will be heard in April.

Full Moneyweb report