Racketeers to be sentenced

2017-01-26 06:01

Abri Filipe Bucchianeri (30), Cecil George Kruger (63), Sean Kruger (32) and Busobenkosi Matera (34), have been found Guilty by the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court on Friday for racketeering, money laundering, fraud and contraventions of the Marine Living Resources Act.

It is alleged that the quartet through Virdon Trading CC, an entity allegedly registered in 2010 and licenced to export fresh produce, participated in unlawful activities that involved intricate planning and continuous looting, storing, and exporting of abalone overseas.

The entity’s operations were brought to an abrupt end when the Hawks pounced on Bucchianeri and Kruger in a search and seizure operation in their Vredenburg premises in July 2010. About 77 292 units of abalone weighing 7065,83 kg, valued at approximately R 20 million and various equipment were seized.

Earnest investigations by the elite unit led to the arrest of the other accused in the matter including three Chinese nationals; Zhi Cheng Wen, Jason Ho and Wei Lin who have since received three years direct imprisonment terms following a plea bargain.

The Western Cape Provincial Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, Major General Nombuso Khoza, welcomed the judgement and commended the investigating team for a job well done. And said

“This is a welcome boost to our endeavours in fighting crime and it resonates with our resolve to paralyze the criminal business systems. We hope this verdict dissuades those who still plan to plunder our marine resources from continuing to do so. Specialised Investigation is in the DNA of the DPCI. We shall continue to investigate and combat national priority offences, chiefly the investigation and dismantling of serious organised crime syndicates, serious commercial crime and serious corruption. She concluded.

Bucchianeri, Kruger and Sean Kruger were all found guilty on 21 charges, whilst Matera was found guilty on seven charges. The four accused will be sentenced on the 23rd of February 2017.

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