Boxing king and tycoon in crime boss probe

2011-02-12 17:43

South Africa’s best-known boxing trainer and a property tycoon have become part of a police probe into an alleged car syndicate controlled by a notorious crime boss.

Gauteng businessman Hansi le Roux alleges that fugitive Ralph Haynes, also known as the “Godfather of the West Rand”, has stolen a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and a Lamborghini sports car from him.

The Harley landed up with trainer Nick Durandt – who has trained more than 90 champions in a career spanning 23 years – and the car with ­Zunaid Moti, who was recently in the news for allegedly owing R1.5 billion to Investec Bank.

Le Roux has laid charges of theft and fraud against, among others, Moti and Durandt. Both deny any wrongdoing.

Haynes disappeared last month, days before the police’s Organised Crime Unit would have pounced on him for a series of crimes.

Le Roux alleges in his statements that Haynes has stolen several of his luxury cars. He told police that he bought the Lamborghini Murciélago for R3 million. The Harley is worth R275 000.

The motorcycle landed up with ­Durandt and the Lamborghini with Waleed Investments, a Moti firm.

Haynes is one of Durandt’s ring ­assistants, while he and Moti are good friends.

Police have visited Durandt twice to get a statement. He says that he purchased the motorcycle from Haynes and is legally in possession of it. The bike is registered in his name.

“I am a law-abiding citizen and have never done any (dirty) business with Haynes. I have done my own investigation and I am satisfied I am the ­legal owner,” Durandt said.

Moti, through his business partner, Ashruf Kaka, said that they had ­legally bought the Lamborghini from a luxury car dealer and had in the meantime sold it again.

Kaka said they had all the invoices and registration papers.

He said they had been intimidated by Le Roux, who was making false claims against them.

They had since been granted a court interdict ­preventing Le Roux from making media statements that they had ­obtained the Lamborghini illegally.

Haynes is said to have robbed, stolen and swindled tens of millions of rands from his victims while operating from the West Rand over the last 20 years.
 
He ­disappeared while apparently in Mpumalanga for a business deal.

Police have launched a manhunt for Haynes.

Hawks spokesperson Colonel McIntosh Polela said ­Haynes had faked his own death and was probably trying to escape to ­Cyprus.

A week ago, police said they were monitoring him in Botswana, that he couldn’t escape and that his arrest and return to South Africa was ­imminent.

This week, however, ­Polela ­admitted that Haynes was still at large and was “seasoned at ­evading capture”.

Meanwhile, Le Roux claimed that while he was in the US, Haynes had stolen luxury cars and mining machinery worth R14 million.

When Le Roux returned from the US, he went to the police.

“Then the threats and intimidation started. Haynes told me I will die like a dog and that I don’t know who I’m taking on,” Le Roux said.

Another East Rand car dealer, Frank Frandsen, said Haynes took two Dodge Ram trucks valued at R1.4?million on test drives but never returned them.

“I’m still waiting for my money. When I went to the police, the threats started. Haynes said he was untouchable and that the police are scared of him,” Frandsen said.

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