BHI Ponzi: The web of off-shore companies where missing billions may have ended up

By Chris Steyn

Some of the billions investors lost in South Africa’s latest Ponzi scheme could be sitting in offshore accounts.

This has emerged through preliminary investigations by independent forensic investigator Bart Henderson and a group of veteran investigators assisting him, which has identified a network of special purpose or related party vehicles and entities, made up of companies local and offshore which were linked to the BHI Trust. The network of entities uncovered so far number 16.

Some of these entities whose names were provided to BizNews by Henderson, were referenced in an earlier version of this article. To the extent that an impression may have been created that the entities and their directors may have acted in a corrupt manner, we apologise unconditionally. That was never the intention.

Read more: BHI Ponzi: A “Nest of Criminality” & fears that missing money could have left SA – with Magnus Heystek

Henderson feels the sequestration of the BHI Trust was  “premature”.

“An appropriate step would have been to bring an application to freeze the assets of BHI through a preservation order while every effort with urgency is made to see the big picture,” he says.

“The liquidation process and the recent granting of sweeping powers to appoint a phalanx of accountants and investigators by the Master’s Office brings with it astronomical costs and expenses. For the Liquidators, astronomical fees. All of this at the cost of the creditors.”

Henderson sees this as a matter for the Special Investigation Unit (SIU). 

“Investigations into BHI and affiliate/associate companies and their Directors must be conducted immediately.

“The Financial Standards Conduct Authority or the Department of Finance should seek an urgent Presidential Proclamation for the SIU to investigate the debacle and further protect the hapless investors caught in this massive fraud.

“Victims can then, through appointed counsel, in a class action, in an Investors vs. BHI Trust and Others claim against assets confiscated/forfeited by/to the SIU.”

Henderson says the BHI case also calls for an “immediate commission of inquiry, in the vein of Masterbond and others”.

In the interim, a criminal complaint has been filed against at least another 2 individuals and 11 corporate entity Directors. 

“This matter is not simply about BHI either. It’s a stinging indictment of the industry, an FSCA who were warned and did nothing and many in the industry who knew and said nothing,” Henderson says.

  • Global & Local’s founder Haldane was asked to answer seven questions sent to him at lunchtime on Wednesday. His attorney emailed BizNews on Friday afternoon, promising his client would respond comprehensively to all the questions. In anticipation of this response, this article has been amended to remove all references to Haldane and Global & Local.

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