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In the six weeks since we picked up on David Marchant’s expose’ of the Belvedere Ponzi scheme, things have been rather interesting here at Biznews.com. On the night our first article was published, Sunday 22 March, the site was the subject of a massive cyber attack. Bringing the site back required substantial investment in upgrading already hefty security walls.
A few days later when the central characters Cobus Kellermann and David Cosgrove emerged, the battle switched to the legal arena. There aren’t many bigger names in SA law than Werksmans, and I discovered why its Stellenbosch partner, Johan Theron, is regarded by them as one of their best.
Theron started out as sweetness itself, explaining how he and his clients were going to show the error of my ways and was confident I would happily recant by publishing a full retraction of the Biznews articles. Indeed, said Theron, it had taken Kellermann and Cosgrove two hours to convince him of their innocence.
But after the duo refused to engage directly, either face-to-face or even on the phone, the pitbull side of Theron emerged – bullying, influencing other media and in two cases leaking info about our fight to competitors, then resorting to a letters-only-through-lawyers approach threatening and then demanding a day in court.
— Stephan J Lamprecht (@StephanJLamp) May 6, 2015
I was warned by one of Theron’s former colleagues that Cosgrove would “go all the way – expect to see them in court”. It was a delightful possibility. When hearing of the threatened defamation action, Marchant graciously offered us access to his contacts and extensive documentation – an unusual and extremely generous gesture from an investigative journalist of his stature.
Six weeks later the boot is very firmly on the other foot. In the face of mounting evidence from official channels, even those who bought the Kellermann/Cosgrove/Theron story are switching sides. Now comes the sad part when the forensic investigators get inside the crumbling Belvedere empire. To borrow from Winston Churchill, this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is the end of the beginning in a scandal that promises to be the talk of the financial services sector for some time.
Here, in chronological order and for easy reference, are links to the Biznews.com’s Belvedere-related articles to date.
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