By Alec Hogg
This is the second time in a couple years that Ferrari-driving Cobus Kellermann is in the headlines for the wrong reasons.
He was implicated in a R3.1bn Ponzi scheme scandal that erupted after a double homicide in the Icon Building on the foreshore in Cape Town in July 2012.
That Ponzi scheme unravelled after Julian Williams, CEO of supposed private equity company Basileus Capital, was shot dead by his business partner Herman Pretorius. After killing Williams, the former policeman turned investment advisor Pretorius then turned the gun on himself.
In the days stradding the double homicide, Kellermann-managed Ankh Capital sold 1.5m shares in the JSE-listed offshoot of the Ponzi scheme BK One.
Since listing in December 2011, 2.3m BK One shares have traded in total. How Kellerman possessed the foresight to sell 65% of the BK One’s total turnover in two sessions straddling the murders, remains a mystery. As Basileus was liquidated, the reasons behind the homicides and Ponzi scheme were never properly communicated to the public.
Most of the other shares in BK One, which is till listed on the JSE, are owned by Belvedere subsidiaries that are being investigated by the Mauritian authorities. BK One invested its entire R200m capital into the four high-risk companies into which Basileus Capital channelled money raised in the Ponzi scheme.
Pretorius, who lived the high life with holiday homes, boats and a lavish lifestyle, convinced hundreds of Cape farmers to entrust their money to Basileus. He and Williams ran a complex systems of funds, high yielding holding companies, loans and startups. At the time of the dual homicide, the scheme had begun to unwind.
Julian Williams was also the key personality behind Wesizwe Platinum which raised funds in a similar manner – selling shares in a high risk private company with the promise that the price would multiply once it was listed on the JSE. As with BK One, which is priced at a fifth of its listing level, but rarely trades, the opposite occurred.
In mid-2012, investigative journalist Julius Cobbett, then with Moneyweb, reported extensively on Kellermann’s BKOne transaction. He concluded that although the seller of the large chunk of BK One’s shares was never officially revealed, it was almost certainly Kellermann as the transaction precisely matched the number of shares his Ankh Capital shares held in the thinly traded BK One.
Cobbett reported that at the time Kellermann did not make himself available for comment. Despite the far more damaging allegations around Belvedere, Kellermann has once again failed to engage.
Alleged Ponzi kingpin Cobus Kellermann has an obsession for fast cars – including this Ferrari which he apparently owns.
Subsequent to our publication on Monday, March 23, this letter was received from Hans Klopper, director of Independent Advisory:
I refer to your recent article relating to Belvedere in which reference was made to the Basileus Group and the late Mr J Williams.
During August 2012 I was appointed as the business rescue practitioner to some 11 companies in the Basileus Group shortly after the tragic passing of Mr Julian Williams during the last week of July that year.
I came to affairs of the companies as a stranger and found that that the late Mr Herman Pretorius was a previous business partner of Mr Williams at the time of Mr Williams’ death.
They had already parted ways during 2008 and there was no on-going relationship between Mr Williams and Mr Pretorius. Mr Pretorius was not involved in the affairs of Basileus at the time of their death other than the legacy investment in SAS/Avalloy which was taken on by Basileus as part of the process of dissolution when they parted ways in 2008.
The affairs of SA Superalloys and and Avalloy were both restructured in the subsequent business rescue process.
It is therefore incorrect to create the impression that the late Mr Julian Williams was a business partner of the late Mr Herman Pretorius.
Only during the subsequent investigations into Mr Pretorius’ affairs and that of the RVAF Trust did it become clear that it was a scheme in the nature of a Ponzi Scheme
There exists no evidence that Mr Williams was ever involved with or knew about the true nature of Mr Pretorius’ business activities and the investigations revealed that the late Mr Pretorius clearly acted alone in this scheme.