SA Ponzi boss Tannenbaum's new life as a taxi driver

2015-02-08 17:25
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Johannesburg - Barry Tannenbaum, who orchestrated South Africa's biggest Ponzi scheme worth R12.5bn, is a driver for the Uber taxi service in Runaway Bay, Australia, the Sunday Times reported.

It was reported that Tannenbaum granted Australia's Nine Gold Coast News an in-depth interview, where he pleaded poverty and spoke of his attempts to rebuild his life.

"Contrary to what the reports say, I haven't got much cash on hand at all," he was quoted as saying.

"I'm still innocent, obviously, until proven guilty - and they'll find that hard to prove so it's just a big shame what happened," Tannenbaum - who reportedly uses a relatively new Jeep to ferry his customers - told the TV channel.

He also told the channel he was the victim of a conspiracy and accused lawyer Dean Rees of being the real perpetrator.

In 2007, Tannenbaum left South Africa to settle in Sydney. In 2009, the scheme was uncovered and he subsequently fled, apparently due to safety concerns.

Tannenbaum reeled in more than 880 investors allegedly by promising high returns linked to pharmaceutical imports.

Although arrest warrants have been issued for both Tannenbaum and Rees - who is believed to now live in Switzerland - South African authorities have never lodged a formal extradition requests for the pair.

This week Tannenbaum said in his interview that he was always ready to talk: "If anybody wants to speak to me, I'm always willing to speak."

A Ponzi scheme uses funds from investors to pay generous 'returns' to other investors, rather than distributing actual profits.

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