Spread across the table in my cluttered office are pieces of Sunday Standard’s longest investigation in 2006 that exposed the lies, intrigues and intricate networks of international financial gangsters who have invaded Botswana.
There is a spiral notebook with names of international financial gangsters like Rakish Sabena 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.
There are yellowing receipts from a Rustenburg toll gate. There are piles of photocopied documents, e-mail messages, scrap papers with South African telephone numbers and web site addresses.
I kept the spiral notebook and scraps of papers as evidence in case Sabena or any of his side kicks decided to sue.
It was a Watergate ÔÇôstyle investigation straight out of “All the President’s men”
A Sunday Standard reporter and driver in a white Toyota Conquest Tizzy driving down the hustle and bustle of Rustenburg to a rendezvous with an unknown source from the underground world.
There is a story behind every scrap of paper on the desk. On one of the pieces of paper, torn from the receptionist’s message pad is a fading scrawl that says “Dr Alexander Von Paleske” and lists his contact numbers.
Dr von Paleske, head of the Oncology Department at Princess Marina Hospital was instrumental in unraveling the foiled coup in Equatorial Guinea. He also helped to link me up with one of the sources who is based in South Africa and was an insider in the multi-million dollar global stock fraud operating from Botswana.
Dr Von Paleske however tried to discourage me from meeting the source in South Africa, saying, “you have to be very careful. These people are dangerous. You should not allow them to lure you into a trap.”
The yellowing receipts from a Rustenburg toll gate are a result of my decision to go against Dr Paleske’s advice. I had never met the South African source. We had spoken a number of times on the phones. I had many questions for him.
He would not speak on the phone saying “this is very sensitive information and these guys are dangerous.” He promised to drive from Johannesburg where he is running a retail business to Rustenburg.
We agreed to meet him there. The result was the from page expose: “The big hand behind Botswana’s financial mafias exposed” on the July 2 edition of the Sunday Standard.
That Rakesh Saxena may be using Botswana to orchestrate a global multi million dollar stock fraud.
At the centre of the grand scheme was believed to be Platinum Asset Management, one of the many boiler room operations mushrooming in Botswana feared to be cheating international investors out of at least P7 million every month.
The man behind Platinum Assest Management, Phakalane Statates 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. Osteerlaak was fined 300 000 Euros by the Spanish authorities in 2002 for operating an unauthorized investment business out of Barcelona, selling shares into the UK.
Oosteerlaak was 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.
I spoke to the Financial Services Board and raised some of their correspondence, warning Botswana authorities. The Botswana ministry of finance however told me they were not aware of a boiler room network operating in the country.
Among the documents I laid my hands on were court record. 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 opereation 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 of Platinum Asset Management, the company moved its operation to Gaborone and Oosteerlaak apparently tried to cover his tracks. He used the name Neil Andrews when dealing with clients and was believed to be using his mother-in-law as a front.
Oosteerlaak who is the director of Platinum Asset Management in Spain where it was closed down by authorities and in South Africa where it was under investigation was however not listed on the Botswana Stock Market.
Instead, his mother-in-law, CB Duffin and one Stefan Tereblanche who uses the alias Stefan Taylor, are registered directors of Platinum asset management Botswana. Oosteerlaak and Platinum Asset management were part of an intricate web of at least six companies with overlapping agents whose questionable deal were estimated in billions of Pula.
Also being investigated by the Financial Services Board was Johan Stofberg who helped set up Platinum Asset Management in Botswana. Stofberg was also shareholder of Anglo R Capital House that share infrastructure with Platinum Asset Management.
Platinum Asset Management also used Anglo Rand Capital call centre and personel.
Glen Tucker who was the floor manager of the Botswana based Platinum Asset Management, broke way from the company to set up theArcfin group. Although he later moved part of his operations to South Africa
Another South African boiler room investor who had moved to Botswana was Robert Linkmayer also based AT Phakalane Estates.., The six financial pirates were understood to be linked to Saxena