Glenn Agliotti: From crook to spy buddy

2014-08-10 15:00

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Convicted drug dealer Glenn Agliotti claims he works for the government, has indemnity from prosecution and can smuggle as many cigarettes as he wants.

This has emerged in two recordings Agliotti made last year at a golfing estate in Johannesburg and in a restaurant.

City Press has the recordings, which are genuine and were legally obtained.

Agliotti, who famously turned state witness against his former friend, disgraced former police commissioner Jackie Selebi, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

In the recordings, Agliotti claims that a senior “contract agent” from the State Security Agency’s Special Operations Unit, George Darmanovich, recruited him to work on an illicit cigarette project.

In turn, Agliotti attempted last year to recruit several cigarette smugglers to work with him on the project.

The conversations were caught on tape by the smugglers, who both carry small digital tape recorders.

Agliotti: “The government has asked me to run a smuggling operation. There is a team in place. There is an underground operation running in Pretoria. I met with them in [a house in a Pretoria suburb] yesterday. The NIA [National Intelligence Agency, the State Security Agency’s domestic arm]. They are on board. It’s been approved.”

Agliotti told the smugglers that it was a three-year operation and he was closely working with agent Darmanovich.

“George Darmanovich. He works for national intelligence. He is f***ing clever. He is a f***ing genius. He comes to my house. They pay him for all his information. He collects money. He sells disinformation,” he’s heard saying.

Agliotti continues: “The mandate now from the government, it’s already set up. Indemnity to whomever I tell them. Smuggle as much as you want.”

Smuggler A: “Why the f**k me?”

Agliotti: “Because you are successful. You are in the cigarette game. We gonna make a huge amount of money.”

Smuggler A: “But that one will be with their blessings?”

Agliotti: “SAPS, Hawks, all the way down.”

Smuggler A: “How many do you have to shuffle a week?”

Agliotti: “As much as we want. But I have three years.”

Smuggler B: “Why did you choose us, Glenn?”

Agliotti: “I’ll rather run with operators. You run it. I’ll give you the protection from the top?...?I steal from banks and Sars [SA Revenue Service], but not from my friends.”

The smugglers were at the time under investigation by Sars for tax evasion, money laundering and fraud.

They wanted to know from Agliotti if it was possible to bribe Sars group executive for enforcement investigations Johan van Loggenberg.

Agliotti: “He seems like a nice guy. And then he will f**k you up.”

It is not known if the cigarette project ever got off the ground.

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