At last, an end to the torture

By admin
01 April 2010

Former Springbok cricketer Garth le Rouxrecently heard the words he and his wife had long waited to hear: he was innocent of tax-evasion charges.

For two years he’d fought to clear his name on appeal after being convicted as a thief and a cheat.

He recently turned 55; the ordeal that consumed his life began soon after his 48th birthday when he was charged with 49 counts of tax fraud and theft. Two years ago he was convicted on three of the charges and sentenced to six years in jail.

We meet Garth and his wife, Tina, after his appeal triumph and he’s in high spirits as he welcomes us to their home at Fancourt estate near George.

‘‘It’s like an overnight miracle,’’ Tina says. ‘‘For seven years this thing was like an invisible elephant in our house. My children have their dad back!’’

There’s a jovial spirit in the house but the Le Rouxs have reason to be angry too. Their legal costs are about R6 million, and Garth’s conviction cost him two years of work and income at Fancourt.

According to his attorney, tax-law expert Henry Vorster, Garth was criminally charged for indulging in common practice. Tax evasion is illegal but tax avoidance isn’t – and by exchanging commission he’d earned for discounts on the price of two houses and club membership at Fancourt he was avoiding tax, not evading it.

‘‘I’m just glad the justice system ensured the truth won and that it’s all over,’’ Garth says. Finally there’s an end to the ‘‘torture that felt as if it would never end’’.

In celebration Garth has planned their first family holiday in seven years: a cruise in the Mediterranean, followed by a skiing break.

*More of this in YOU, 7 October 2010.

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