High life of the R699 kingpin

Johannesburg - Albert Venter, the man at the helm of the controversial “R699 per month” car scheme, leads a lavish life which many of his customers can only dream of.

Parked behind glass garage doors visible from the street outside his palatial home in the Pretoria suburb of Mooikloof, are his Ferrari FF, Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, Maserati Spyder and Nissan Infiniti SUV.

Venter started the Satinsky general dealership in 2006 and put the “R699 per month” scheme on the market in 2008.

Its huge success allowed him to take regular extravagant overseas holidays to Britain and Switzerland, and hire a butler who prepares him healthy meals.

But now the scheme, in which thousands of South African car owners have participated and which is run by Venter’s company, is on the verge of collapse.

Read: Wheels come off on 'Drive a new car for R699'

WesBank CEO Chris de Kock said last week that the vehicle arm of FNB doubted the authenticity and sustainability of the Satinsky Group vehicle scheme as far back as 2011 and declined an invitation to become involved with the "Drive a new car for R699" scheme.

He said it appeared that the profits from deals comprised the vehicle retail margin, as well as commissions on finance and insurance products sold by the group.

Read: Drive a R699 car typical Ponzi scheme - WesBank

"Some of these profits also appear to have been used to fund the company's ongoing commitments but we could not see any evidence of financial reserves, proving that the company could not have sustained any long-term commitments as more customers participate in the scheme.

"It, therefore, seemed blatantly obvious that the scheme relied on these upfront profits to fund its downstream obligations, the historical traits of a true Ponzi scheme," said De Kock.

Read what participating banks had to say  this week.

Other findings by the Media24 investigations team show Venter's life is light years away from that of his "R699" clients. It includes:

* A lavish mansion in in Mooikloof, bought in December 2011 for R11.5m;

* The estate's excellent safety was obviously not good enough. Giant safety walls were built as well as a security house, which is manned 24 hours a day;

* The six bedrooms have a beautiful view over the large private pool. The huge living room has a boardroom table with chairs, there are two dining rooms, a gym, a mini theatre for 12 people and a bar;

* According to a Satinsky employee, the group sold an average of 80 cars a month in 2009. By 2012, the company was bursting at the seams, selling an average of 800 cars a month.

* For more on this storyand more news in Afrikaans, visit www.Rapport.co.za.

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