🔒 Who is Craig Warriner?

In the hazy recollections of BHI Ponzi mastermind Craig Warriner’s extravagant past, where Johnnie Walker Blue Label flowed freely and private jets soared to Cape Town, lies a stark contrast to the somber reality of his current cell in “Sun City”.

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By Chris Steyn

What does BHI Ponzi mastermind Craig Warriner think of in his cell in “Sun City”?

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Those heady Friday afternoons between 2000 and at least 2011 when he hosted favoured guests and top politicians like Julius Malema or Cyril Ramaphosa or Tokyo Sexwale at The Butcher Shop in Sandton Square? 

The bottles of Johnnie Walker Blue Label and Château Mouton Rothschild on the table?

How he would get so drunk that a car had to be arranged to take him to The Grand where – unbeknownst to his wife – he would spend the evening watching pole-dancing until he was “blind drunk”.

The scrumptious Saturday breakfasts at The Butcher’s Shop? 

And the routine shopping trips to the Louis Vuitton store when even his bodyguard would get spoiled with exorbitantly-priced designer goodies?

The quiet Sundays when he would stay at home? 

The Mondays to Fridays midday when he would sit in front of banks of TVs, the line open to his broker, talking all day? 

The times he boasted to friends that he had R100-million of his own money in the fund?

Read more: BHI Ponzi: Allan Gray explains its connection with Global & Local

Maybe that decadent decade is still shrouded in a boozy haze.

But he is not likely to have forgotten the sober-living years that followed his relationship with his mistress. (BizNews withholds her identity to protect her privacy).

Although Warriner went to the huge expense to book out the Oyster Box for their wedding celebration, she is credited with a big change in his lifestyle well before the marriage. 

By then she had already helped him give up the booze, got him into the gym, and ensured that he ate more healthily.

Apart from business meetings, he stopped the extravagant entertainment to the point that he “almost became a hermit”.

Gone were the new flashy luxury cars every four months (although he did not buy those, but just borrowed them from the dealership he had a 20% stake in).

Warriner and his second wife also shared only one vehicle, a four-by-four.

No more invites for friends on the private jet (which he also didn’t own, but just had a share in) to Cape Town for Sunday lunch and back.

Instead of buying a home, the couple first rented a penthouse in Sandton, and later a house on Blair Atholl Estate. And although they bought a stand there, they never built on it.

Craig Warriner

What did not change was his personality: He was still brash, crass, loud, uncouth…and only slightly less arrogant.

And while it is not known how he treated her behind closed doors during his sober period, friends still remember how aggressive he could be when drunk – and how verbally abusive he was to his first wife in front of others. (Her identity and the identity of his children are being withheld to protect their privacy).

Ironically, this was the woman whose inheritance he used to set up the BHI Trust when he was “down on the bones of his ass” as an insurance broker – and who has now lost a fortune along with other investors, including their children and close relatives.

Anyway, by the time Warriner surrendered to police, the years of healthier living had paid off – and he had lost a significant amount of weight.

He was no longer the solid mass of fat that had enveloped him since he stopped powerlifting, but his physique still bore no resemblance to his days as a record-breaking swimmer at St Stithians.

Just months earlier, the first signs of something being seriously amiss had started showing.

A close associate who wanted to withdraw money from the fund, was fobbed off.

The couple even got rid of the gardener and the maid.

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

But when Warriner did not return home for two days, his wife thought he had been kidnapped – and reported him missing to police.

The shock discovery that he had handed himself over baffles friends almost as much as the fact that he had lost their money.

They say it was a move completely out of character for a man who was so very good at self-preservation – and who would have surrounded himself with high-powered lawyers.

Nor can they understand why he did not run – especially since there is talk that he had been siphoning off money and buying Crypto.

In fact, he and his second wife had spent a couple of weeks a month in the UK for years, and he had talked of buying citizenship in Malta or Portugal.

He had also hinted that he wanted to start a fund in the UK.

The only one who has the answers is Craig Warriner himself. 

And he is not talking to anyone. 

An attempt to smuggle in a phone to him failed miserably because he refused to accept it.

Word is he is being protected by inmates.

But what he is thinking about when the lights go out in that grim hell hole, only he knows….

* This profile was compiled with the help of people who knew Warriner for decades. They make the point that although he has dropped his friends “in the shit”, he was capable of great loyalty to those closest to him – with him even allowing some to take advantage of him. 

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