Byleveld's ring linked to Rolex gang

2012-02-12 15:48

Johannesburg - Super sleuth Piet Byleveld accepted a wedding band from a businessman thought to be linked to an organised crime syndicate known as the Rolex gang, according to a newspaper report on Sunday.

Byleveld thanked Tony Vardas for the wedding band in a magazine article, the Sunday Times reported.

"He said that is what he wanted to give us for a wedding present," Byleveld reportedly said.

Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela said Vardas and two others were subjects of an "ongoing investigation".

Vardas was "a person of interest" in the Rolex gang case, other police members told the newspaper.

The gang followed and robbed wealthy people - including Discovery chief executive Adrian Gore, and Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale's wife Judy Sexwale - of their jewellery. They were most active in Johannesburg's northern suburbs.

Byleveld retired in 2010 after an illustrious police career, during which he arrested some of the country's most notorious criminals.

He said he knew Vardas from a case he investigated "many moons ago", in which Vardas was a witness.

"I can assure you if [Vardas was linked to any criminal activity] and if I knew, I would have acted on it," Byleveld said.

He denied that Vardas was a friend and said Vardas had organised the ring through a jeweller, who measured his then fiancee's finger.

Vardas did not supply her engagement ring.

"I bought the [engagement] ring and I have the documents to prove it," Byleveld said.

  • rbphiri - 2012-02-12 15:56

    Rolex gang...I guess their Time is up.

  • bernpm - 2012-02-12 16:16

    ".....Byleveld retired in 2010 after an illustrious police career, during which he arrested some of the country's most notorious criminals......" The man can befriend whomever he wants. What's the case????

      paulmandlankosi - 2012-02-12 19:38

      It's even criminals can be his friend

      Wim - 2012-02-12 21:11

      Thats what Selebi said.

      bernpm - 2012-02-12 21:22

      Selebi was not retired at the time, Byleveld is. The rest is rumour until now. I am sure that the sharks, the hawks and all the other crime fighting organisations will go after the man with great pleasure to follow up on any smell of wrong doing.

      Gail - 2012-02-13 13:57

      Selebi lost his job and was sentenced to jail for something similar.

  • acsteyn - 2012-02-12 16:22

    The untouchables.

  • trix.duvenage - 2012-02-12 16:45

    Will be interesting to see Byleveld's financial statements and assets lists for the last 10 years of his police career. I wont be surprised if he is a very wealthy man..... Who can be trusted in this country? Where do we go to if real danger is on our door steps? What a country.....

  • Nick Rogerson - 2012-02-12 17:07

    I really feel that there is not merit to the Sunday Times Front page story. Piet Byleveld really did good work in nabbing some real monsters, and I just find this whole story a tad sensationalist, and without merit. Byleveld was obviously not hiding anything, if he did the thank you in the You magazine. The biggest waste of a front page of a newspaper I have ever seen.

      TaniaSandraSteyn - 2012-02-12 17:16

      I agree. Why would he mention it if there was any chance that it would come back to bite him in the buttocks?

      Warmonger - 2012-02-13 07:49

      My sentiment exactely! I'm sure a picture of the ring will surface at some stage (wedding foto's, etc..) and if it was indeed stolen some-one will claim it, and because there is a definate link to all involved conviction(s) Will follow! Sensationalist at the very least...

  • Kusleg - 2012-02-12 17:47

    I thought it was more appropriate for a couple to buy themselves a wedding band....the likes of Piet and criminals think alike-shown by how good he was at nabbing them.

      Michael - 2012-02-13 08:48

      You mean: set a thief to catch a thief!

  • Malcolm - 2012-02-12 21:06

    Piet Byleveld simply accepted a wedding gift from Tony Vardas before his connection to organised crime was suspected and remains only a suspect in the case with nothing yet proved in court. Even Zuma is not treated like a corrupt criminal; despite being oh-so-close! So how on earth can we hold Piet Byleveld responsible for failing to foretell of the “suspected” events that were to follow in the future. Do we hold the current government leaders and officials accountable for giving and accepting favours from each other, for we all know they’re up to their elbows in corruption and tender-rigging. I told you all of the above to tell you this: Piet Byleveld is clearly a target of blind racism concocted by the very criminals themselves.

  • Meshack Letswalo - 2012-02-12 22:38

    Interesting. Had it been a black policeman there would have been over 50 comments about how corrupt "the government" is. Now there are only a few sweetheart comments like he couldn't foretell the future. Interesting

      franswaj - 2012-02-13 07:33

      The difference is he paid for it and now that you bring colour to the "crime scene" if it was a black policeman he would of robbed the place

      Simon - 2012-02-13 12:41

      ROTFL. Spot on Meshack Pretty much sums up the trols on this site. Now that ol dear "Piet" has been frolicking with top criminals ala Selebi, has been found having very questionable relationships with corrupt individuals ala Cele, has admitted to having a relationship only as a friend ala finish and klaar ala Selebi. The conclusion is that the Sunday times has not got its facts right. What more do you want? He has admitted to getting a gift from a VERY VERY dangerous criminal. You then have to start digging more into his time in the force. Who else has been buying him "gifts"? What is good for the goose (Cele, Selebi) surely is not too bad for the gander. How pathetic that you try and condone this act. Pathetic, ignorant lot you all are

      Tania - 2012-02-13 18:02

      o for crying in a bucket. HE PAID FOR IT, it was not a gift!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Gerard - 2012-02-13 07:23

    I had already decided to stop buying the Sunday Times because the stories are so weak. Is this the best headline they could find? "Piet Byleveld buys ring from jeweler recommended by witness"? Do me a favour. No wonder the government wants to shut them up!

  • Henning - 2012-02-13 08:32

    Sounds to me more like a smear campaign. Byleveldt is as straight as an arrow. Let the man enjoy his retirement after all the years of hard service to this country!

      Lunga - 2012-02-13 09:50

      As a top former policeman he should know of such ''high profile gangs''

  • Samantha - 2012-02-13 09:59

    I completely agree Henning. Leave the man alone. he served this country well for so many years, now they want to brandish his good name! HE BOUGHT THE RING!... I really don't understand Meshack. If you have any!!!

  • Danie - 2012-02-13 10:30

    Piet should be getting used to life as a celebrity now. If he develops flatulence we'll read about that too.

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