Investors take Treoc 'Ponzi scheme' to court

Cape Town - Controversial property investment group Treoc is gearing up for seminars in Pretoria and Cape Town where it will tell potential investors how to invest their money in property trusts to avoid tax, and how to use other people’s money to grow wealth by taking over those people’s mortgage bonds.

The company, however, faces a  legal suit by angry investors who claim they have been shortchanged by the Treoc Group run by flamboyant Somerset West-based businessman and former Rapport journalist Coert Coetzee.

Ryno Engelbrecht and Mervin Dowries, joint liquidators of Treoc Limited’s subsidiary Treoc Capital (Pty) Ltd, have issued summonses against the company’s directors. One of the investors, Paul van Hoogendoorn, said the investors are awaiting a court date for the hearing in the Western Cape High Court.

Cornelius Johannes (Coert) Coetzee is the first defendant while the others are directors Ian Deyzel, Joshua van der Merwe, Jose Alberto Delgado and William Fullagar.

Media24 Investigations obtained documents that show investigations by concerned investors and liquidators shortly before a confidential inquiry into Treoc Capital labelled it a pyramid scheme.

READ: Treoc firm ‘a pyramid scheme’

Van Hoogendoorn said they are taking action against Treoc Capital’s directors in their personal capacity. They stand accused, he says, of reckless trading. The plaintiffs say the company conducted the business of a bank by soliciting and accepting deposits from the general public “which exceeded in aggregate R500 000”.

The plaintiffs claim the company was never registered as a bank and therefore conducted business illegally. The Treoc directors are accused of using investments received from new investors to pay existing investors, like a pyramid scheme. The plaintiffs are seeking R5.2m from the defendants.

Coetzee said in response that “hate articles” happen to him all the time “because I continuously expose the fraud of hostile creditors, liquidators and pension companies in my articles in the Treoc Times and on my Facebook page”.

He continued: “In return the pension companies use the lies of hostile creditors and their own media companies to badmouth me whenever they can. They, and especially the Sanlam/Naspers controlled Media 24, hope I will disappear!”

Watch Treoc's TV advert from 2014:

Treoc was 'victim of the recession'

Coetzee said that the liquidation of Treoc Capital had been agreed to by all its creditors and shareholders, including Treoc Ltd. He said it was the victim of the recession. “During the recession, the banks cancelled some of the large previously granted bonds. Treoc Capital’s biggest debtor, Vyco Developments, also fell victim to the recession. Vyco... was unable to make payment which resulted in Treoc Capital failing to pay creditors.”

He said two lenders, Alex Vowles and Hoogendoorn, “orchestrated threats” against him and demanded that he should personally repay their monies owed them. He said he was not involved in executive management at Treoc Capital, but Hoogendoorn said the CIPC states he was a director.

Coetzee said: “Treoc Capital was not a pyramid scheme. All the 13 creditors were either friends, acquaintances or clients of the company’s founder and directors.” In addition, Treoc Capital did not operate as a bank. The National Credit Regulator had confirmed “in writing” that its operations were in order.

Coetzee said although the option of legal action exists “against the people... spreading these slanderous untruths”, he had decided to “step up to the plate and assume the role of chief executive of Treoc Ltd in August 2011".

Treoc Ltd would be forging ahead with investment seminars in Cape Town on January 31 and in Pretoria on January 17 at the Woodhill Country Club. Investors eager “to become financially independent in a very short period of time" are urged to "attend Coert’s life-changing, full day seminar as soon as possible”.
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