BHI Ponzi: Global & Local’s response to Investec freeze raises new questions

By Chris Steyn

The brokerage at the centre of the BHI Ponzi scandal, Global & Local, is steering its customers to Integrity Asset Management. Last week Investec issued notice that it is to close all accounts associated with Global & Local.

In a letter to clients Global & Local proposes a “solution” that would involve opening a new Investec CCM account, in the name of the client, who would then be expected to transfer their money to this new CCM account administered on the client’s behalf by “one of our long-standing and trusted services providers”, Integrity Asset Management.

“Should you wish to transfer, Shane and Avinash will continue to manage your account, which will then fall under Integrity Asset Management,” the Global & Local letter reads.

According to veteran fraud investigator Bart Henderson, Integrity Asset Management appears to be less than arm’s length from Global & Local and the BHI Trust where billions injected by investors has gone missing in the ponzi scheme engineered by Craig Warriner who is now in the ‘Sun City’ jail south of Johannesburg. 

“It was felt important in the interest of transparency that investors affected by the Investec action to drop Global & Local be made aware of these links,” Henderson warns.

He points out a director of Integrity Asset Management is Sona Pillay, who is also the director of Rubicon Administration Services (RAS), the ponzi scheme’s administrators. Pillay is also a director of Rubicon Trust Company Limited (RTC). 

Global & Local founder Michael Haldane was a director of RAH which founded RTC. 

In response to our request for clarity, RTC director Andre C. du Toit says Pillay was appointed director of RAS a year ago (November 2022) to attend to its winding down and for no other reason: “He was not involved in the company when this company was the administrators of BHI.”

Read more: BHI Ponzi: Investec pulls the plug on Global & Local

Du Toit added: “To confirm, Rubicon Trust Company (RTC) has no affiliation to Rubicon Administration Services (RAS) at all, other than Sona Pillay having been appointed as director in November 2022 to assist with the winding down of the company,” he adds.

“RTC offers Corporate Secretarial Services as part of its Fiduciary Service offering and it is for this reason that Sona Pillay was appointed as director of RAS to attend to the winding down of the company only.”

Du Toit says there is a distinct difference between Rubicon Administration Services (Pty) Ltd and Rubicon Trust Company Limited (RTC).  “Many years ago we were part of that company but we split from them in 2018 and RTC is a completely separate and independent company to them.”

Meanwhile, RTC still uses the same logo and corporate identity as RAS to which Du Toit comments: “It is unfortunate that RTC retained the same logo as RAS when the two companies split in 2018. There was absolutely no other reason whatsoever for RTC having done so.” 

Pillay told BizNews – via Du Toit – that he currently serves as a non-executive director of Integrity Asset Management, adding “Integrity Asset Management has no and has never had any relationship with BHI Trust. Integrity Asset Management serves as a service provider to Global & Local’s clients like any other authorised financial services provider offerings CISs to the public via linked investment service providers.”

He added: “It remains clients’ prerogative should they wish to use the services of Integrity Asset Management. Like Global & Local formerly (was), Integrity Asset Management is an Investec CCM intermediary.”

Global and Local attorney Heetesh Sureshbhai Patel sent this response: “Your reporting in this regard is speculative comment, and it has, and will cause both our client’s company, its associates, related entities, their clients and employees damages. Our client reserves its rights in relation to the damages they have suffered, and undoubtedly will continue to suffer due to your conduct. 

“Our client will not be judged in the court of public opinion, and you do not have the authority to question them, which undoubtedly the proper authorities will do in due course, and with whom they remain in full cooperation. For the record they deny that they have been a party knowingly to any unlawful conduct. 

“Your continued speculative conduct and reporting as set out above has been noted and our client reserve’s its rights to deal with the same at the appropriate time, and before the appropriate forum.”

In further comment, Henderson says: “RTC’s CEO André Christo du Toit was also previously at RAS which he joined in May 2009 according to his profile on the current RTC website. This RAS is where a certain Mr Kaddy Cost has sent out emails on behalf of both RAS and BHI Trust as recently as October 2023. 

Henderson also disputes Pillay’s version: “As recently as June 2023 Global & Local included in a client proposal a RAS charge of an annual admin fee of 0.24%’. This suggests RAS has not wound down, but it it still very much in business doing business with Global & Local and BHI, while Sona Pillay sits on the Board of Integrity, RAS and RTC.

“Website archives place both André Christo du Toit and Kaddy Cost at RTC as far back as 2012. Company records place André Christo du Toit, Kaddy Cost and Sona Pillay at RTC as far back as 2014. Kaddy Cost is a key person at RTC today and is intrinsically involved in BHI’s affairs as the administrator sending out BHI client statements. 

“This entire story reeks of potential conflict of interest and less than arm’s length relationships. For Global & Local to attempt to send clients invested with Investec to Integrity Asset Management claiming the latter’s independence is interesting to say the least,” Henderson adds.

* The letter from Global and Local’s attorneys:

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