Monday, September 28, 2020

Big hand behind Botswana’s financial mafias exposed

SUNDAY STANDARD exposes the lies, intrigues and intricate networks of international financial gangsters who have invaded Botswana

Sunday Standard has unveiled information suggesting that international financial gangster, Rakesh Saxena, who is wanted by Thailand authorities for embezzling $88 million from the Thai Bank of Commerce, leading to the collapse of South East Asian Tiger economies, may be using Botswana to orchestrate a global multi-million dollar stock fraud.

At the centre of the grand scheme is believed to be Platinum Asset Management, one of the many boiler room operations mushrooming in Botswana, which is feared to be cheating international investors out of at least P7 million every month.

The man behind Platinum Asset Management, Phakalane Estates-based Andrew Oosteerlaak, is an old hand in the shady trade and is wanted in Spain, where he was charged for running a similar operation ÔÇô Sunday Standard investigations have revealed.
Oosteerlaak was fined Ôé¼300 000 by the Spanish authorities in 2002 for operating an unauthorised investment business out of Barcelona, selling shares into the UK.

Oosteerlaak is also being investigated by the South African Registrar of Stock Exchanges and the Financial Services Board, a parastatal that regulates South Africa’s financial market.

In their submission to the Witwatersrand High Court justifying their search and seizure of Platinum Asset Management, the Financial Services Board said it had reasonable grounds to suspect that Oosteerlaak’s company was cold calling potential clients in a boiler-room type operation in which shares, listed on foreign exchanges, were being offered. Platinum Asset Management was using its status as a Financial Services Board-approved company to promote its business and to give potential clients comfort.

With the Financial Services Board putting pressure on Platinum Asset Management, the company moved its operation to Gaborone and Oosterlaak apparently tried to cover his tracks. Sunday Standard investigations can reveal that Oosterlaak uses the name Neil Andrews when dealing with clients and is believed to be using his mother-in-law as a business front.

Oosterlaak, who is the director of Platinum Asset Management in Spain, where it was closed down by authorities and in South Africa where it is under investigation is however not listed under Botswana directors.

Instead his mother-in-law, C.B Duffin and one Stefan Terblanche, who also uses the alias Stefan Taylor, are the registered directors for Platinum Asset Management Botswana.
Oosteerlaak and Platinum Asset Management are part of an intricate web of at least six companies with overlapping “agents” and “partners” whose questionable deals are estimated in billions of Pula.

Also being investigated by the South Africa Financial Services Board, as part of the network, is Johan Stofberg, who helped set up Platinum Asset Management in Botswana. Stofberg is also a director of Anglo Rand Capital House (ARCH) that shared infrastructure with Platinum Asset Management.

Platinum Asset Management utilised Anglo Rand Capital House’s call centre and personnel to carry out some of its marketing functions. The scale of the Botswana boiler room operation is betrayed by Glen Turker’s testimonial, where he brags that he used to make up to R 8 million a month for his previous company which records list as the Botswana based Platinum Asset Management.

Glen Turcker, who was the floor manager of the Botswana based Platinum Asset Management (Corporate Affairs), broke away from the company to set up the Arcfin Group. Although he later moved part of his operations to South Africa, Sunday Standard investigations reveal that he continued to exploit the Botswana lazes faire financial regulations to make business for his new company.

The Arcfin Group was not allowed to trade from Johannesburg, so its sales reps would write deals from Johannesburg, fill out the contract note and fax it to Botswana where the Financial Services Board has no jurisdiction.

According to the Arcfin web page, “ Glen Tucker ÔÇô chairman has been actively involved in venture capital for three years, as head of operations for various venture capital floors and has raised up to R 8 million per month for the last company with his experienced floor and trader.”

Another South African investor, who has moved to Botswana and is believed to be involved in boiler-room operations, is Robert Linkmeyer, who was also once a director of Platinum Asset Management. Linkmeyer’s residential address is listed as Phakalane Estates, Gaborone. Linkmeyer is also linked to Prozet, an unregistered asset manager, believed to have also been a boiler-room scheme which ceased trading during 2001 after investors lost millions. Prozet placed the blame for the losses on its offshore clearing house, Hedley. Sunday Standard could not ascertain what the status of the South African Police Service investigation into Prozet is.

Worried that suspected boiler-room operations were fleeing to Botswana, Gerry Anderson, Deputy Executive Officer: Market Conduct & Consumer Education, wrote a letter to Botswana authorities linking Platinum Asset Management to Rakesh Saxena and sounding a warning that the company has relocated to Botswana.

Sunday Standard is in possession of a copy of the letter warning the Botswana authorities that “The Financial Services Board is currently involved in a legal dispute with Messrs. Platinum Asset Management (pty) Ltd. We are aware of the alleged connection between Platinum Asset Management and Rakesh Saxena… I have brought it to the attention of Botswana financial authorities that according to information received Platinum Asset Management has moved its operations or part thereof to Gaborone, Botswana and is alleged to be trading under the name Phoenix Capital Partners. This company is not registered in Botswana.”

Rakesh Saxena, who is linked to the Botswana operation, is a world class financial gangster who is wanted by Thailand authorities for embezzling $ 88 million from the Bangkok Bank of Commerce, leading to the collapse of the South East Asian Tiger economies. Saxena is linked to a network of rich overseas investors who have been bankrolling Africa’s coups and is also believed to be a partner in crime with arms dealer veteran, Adnan Khashoggi, once the richest man in the world, a close friend to the Bin Laden family and uncle to Dodi Al Fayed who courted Diana Princess of Wales.

Saxena, who hired a South African Mercenary and plotted a coup against the Sierra Leon government to get a licence for exploring a bauxite mine, is believed to be using the Botswana Platinum Asset Management and satellite boiler-room companies as part of his scheme to orchestrate a global multi-million dollar stock fraud.

Saxena allegedly revitalises a series of shell companies whose shares are not listed on any public exchange. He then arranges for high pressure telemarketing organisations, known as boiler -rooms, to sell these shares to unsuspecting investors. Saxena is believed to be the big hand behind Platinum Asset Management and its network of Botswana based boiler-rooms with overlapping “agents” and “directors”. In fact, Saxena spoke out strongly against the South African Financial Services Board’s decision to inspect Platinum Asset Management, before the company relocated to Botswana. Saxena even threatened to sue the board’s deputy Garry Anderson for defamation.

The Platinum Asset Management’s spider web of companies, with overlapping directors and agents, seems to be the preferred modus operandi for boiler rooms operating from Botswana and is replicated by the Great Triangle Investment (PTY), the Botswana registered boiler room that defrauded the Namibian government of close to P100 million.

Investigations into the operations of Phillip Fourie and his Botswana registered Great Triangle Investments turn up an intricate web of at least six Botswana registered companies with overlapping “agents” and “directors.”

Fourie, who has Botswana permanent residence, is also a share holder in Heartprops and La Gratitude, two other companies registered in Botswana. Sunday Standard investigations revealed that Fourie falsified his personal details when registering with the Registrar of Companies.

Fourie is linked to Pieter Boonzaaler, the Namibia broker who has in the past been implicated in a number of dubious insurance deals running into millions of Pula.

Sunday Standard can, however, reveal that, while Great Triangle Investments and its principal director Fourie, have been publicly cited as the mastermind in defrauding the Namibian government of close to P100 million, Terius Theart, who also has a Botswana permanent residence, and three associated South African companies: Credit and Development Mortgage Bond Finance and Services (MBFS) and Comserve Investments ÔÇô were all players in investing the Namibian money before Fourie came on the scene.

Theart, like Fourie, falsified his personal details when registering with the Registrar of companies in Gaborone. Theart is also Fourie’s partner in Great Triangle Investments, Hartprops and La Gratitude all registered in Botswana. He is also linked to another alleged financial gangster, Robert Gibson and his companies, Future Indefinite Investments (PTY) Ltd and Mortgage and Financial Services.

Gibson and his companies have been blacklisted by the South African Financial Services Board, a parastatal that regulates the South African financial market. The South African Financial Services board investigations into Gibson’s business operations followed complaints from investors who lost a lot of money through dealings with him. Gibson took millions from investors under the guise that he would invest in bonds on the bond market. This is the same strategy used by Fourie and Theart.

A detailed reflection of the money trail that now has the Namibian government flaining around desperately, has emerged from documents filled with a Namibian court.

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.