Probe into car scheme

2014-08-25 00:00

THE National Credit Regulator (NCR) and the police are investigating complaints that Albert Venter, main brain behind the so-called R699 car Ponzi scheme, had made millions of rands by allegedly lying to clients and banks.

Venter is accused of providing banks with false information that gave buyers into his scheme a better credit profile than their disposable incomes warranted.

Venter is the main brain behind Satinsky 128, which managed the R699 scheme.

Clients of the scheme have given complaints to the NCR and the police that Venter manipulated information about their incomes and expenses without their knowledge.

About 42 200 buyers bought vehicles worth almost R2,8 billion from Nedbank, Absa and Standard Bank through Satinsky 128.

The NCR is also investigating the three banks for allegedly recklessly lending to Satinsky 128 clients, said Nthupang Magolego, manager of investigations and enforcement at the NCR.

This comes after WesBank CEO Chris de Kock criticised the competing banks for doing business with Satinsky 128, which he described as a “clearly a blatant Ponzi scheme”.

Consumer activist Simon Lapping said the banks broke several rules, like not making the original applications for loans available to their clients and not checking the information supplied by Satinsky 128 to them.

Lapping alleged the consumers were forced by threats of penalties of up to R30 000 to sign the final contracts when Satinsky 128 representatives delivered the vehicles.

Gauteng police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini confirmed a criminal charge is being investigated against Venter.

Venter has meanwhile lodged a claim of R20 billion against WesBank and also demands R1 million from Cornelia Maria Nel, a victim of the R699 scheme who started a Facebook page, “New car for just R699 per month” on which victims of the scheme have complained.

The high court in Port Elizabeth on Thursday dismissed an application for a class action against the banks, the NCR and Satinsky 128 with costs, because of “technical reasons”. The victims involved in the class action wanted to have their contracts declared void because they argue the credit agreements were reckless.

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