Byleveld's ring linked to Rolex gang

2012-02-12 15:48

Johannesburg - Super sleuth Piet Byleveld accepted a wedding band from a businessman thought to be linked to an organised crime syndicate known as the Rolex gang, according to a newspaper report on Sunday.

Byleveld thanked Tony Vardas for the wedding band in a magazine article, the Sunday Times reported.

"He said that is what he wanted to give us for a wedding present," Byleveld reportedly said.

Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela said Vardas and two others were subjects of an "ongoing investigation".

Vardas was "a person of interest" in the Rolex gang case, other police members told the newspaper.

The gang followed and robbed wealthy people - including Discovery chief executive Adrian Gore, and Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale's wife Judy Sexwale - of their jewellery. They were most active in Johannesburg's northern suburbs.

Byleveld retired in 2010 after an illustrious police career, during which he arrested some of the country's most notorious criminals.

He said he knew Vardas from a case he investigated "many moons ago", in which Vardas was a witness.

"I can assure you if [Vardas was linked to any criminal activity] and if I knew, I would have acted on it," Byleveld said.

He denied that Vardas was a friend and said Vardas had organised the ring through a jeweller, who measured his then fiancee's finger.

Vardas did not supply her engagement ring.

"I bought the [engagement] ring and I have the documents to prove it," Byleveld said.

- SAPA

Read more on:    piet byleveld
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