Tag Archives: Cobus Kellerman

Belvedere: A closer look at Trinity

14 May

Author: Patrick Cairns

Publications: MoneyWeb

Date Published: 14 May 2015

CAPE TOWN – The allegations against Belvedere were first made in OffshoreAlert back in early March. The Miami-based publication claimed to have uncovered “one of the biggest criminal financial enterprises in history”.

There were suggestions that billions of dollars were at risk in what was a web of fraudulent activity.

Despite the size of the alleged scam, a peculiarity of the story is that there has been very little in the way of anyone coming forward to claim that their money is missing. The deVere Group raised the initial concerns about the Strategic Growth Fund, which was the focus of the recent actions by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission (FSC). It is worried about a total £30 million that it has not yet been able to recover from the fund.

No other investors have yet publicly come forward to state that they are worried about missing funds. The scale of what may or may not be compromised therefore remains a point of conjecture.

Much of the speculation around Belvedere has also suggested that everything with any connection to the group must be fraudulent. However, there are investment vehicles associated to Belvedere that are verifiably legitimate, and it is important not to overlook those details.

This is the case with the two sub-funds housed under the Trinity Global Fund in Guernsey. To understand this, it is necessary for some context.

Towards the end of April, the Guernsey FSC successfully applied to have three funds managed by Lancelot Management – the Global Mutual Fund PCC, Universal Mutual Fund ICC and Worldwide Mutual Fund PCC – placed under administration.

The FSC also applied to place a fourth fund, the Trinity Global Fund, under administration. That application was however adjourned to a later date, and has since been adjourned again.

Why is Trinity different?

Trinity is distinct from the other Lancelot-managed funds in Guernsey in that it is a unit trust, rather than a hedge fund vehicle. It currently houses only two sub-funds, the Armstrong Global Diversified Fund and the NeFG Global Diversified Fund.

There are strong connections to South Africa here: NeFG is a local fund manager and the Armstrong Fund is the offshore vehicle into which the MET Global Diversified Feeder Fund invests.

A ‘consent order’ was obtained in court that essentially requires Trinity’s trustee bank, the Royal Bank of Canada, to impose strict conditions on any transactions within these funds. This will stand until May 29, when the application to place Trinity under administration is now set to be heard.

Moneyweb has established that both the Armstrong and NeFG funds have long-only mandates and may only invest in listed securities. In both cases the underlying investments within these cells are exclusively in funds managed by South African asset managers – the likes of Coronation, Sanlam, Investec, Prescient and Stanlib.

Given what has taken place in Guernsey, certain reports have once again questioned whether the money in these funds is safe. The Head of Distribution and Client Services at MET Collective Investments, Kevin Hinton, stated some time ago that he was confident that the assets in the MET Global Diversified Fund could be validated, and he reiterated as much again to Moneyweb this week.

“I still stand by that comment,” Hinton said. “We’ve gone as far as to check the unit registers of the management companies themselves. When we originally got a document from the administrator Lumiere indicating what the underlying assets were, we went to each of those asset managers – the likes of Prescient, Investec and Stanlib – and validated that they were holding those units in their funds by that nominee vehicle.”

As such, he is satisfied that no investor money is compromised.

In the case of the NeFG, as reported towards the end of April, Moneyweb has seen copies of the fund valuation and portfolio valuations confirming its assets. It is invested in only three underlying funds – the RECM Global Fund, Coronation Global Managed Fund, and PSG International Global Flexible Fund – and the assets in each are identifiable and valid.

Moneyweb understands that the NeFG fund is in the process of cashing out its assets as the reputational risk has become too much. It is looking to relocate to another jurisdiction.

Guernsey

These matters taking place in the Royal Court of Guernsey have been the focus of the Belvedere story over the last few weeks. The application to the court to place the Lancelot funds under administration was accompanied by an affidavit sworn by Paul Yabsley, a senior analyst in the enforcement division of the Guernsey FSC that contained the first concrete details of suspicious trades. These had taken place within the Strategic Growth Fund cells of the Global Mutual Fund.

This is the fund about which deVere had expressed its concern.

The trades were a series of investments into the underlying cells of two Mauritius-domiciled funds: Two Seasons and Four Elements. These funds were both administered by Belvedere Management and managed by RDL Management.

The FSC was particularly concerned about what it termed “significant and systemic conflicts of interest” in these transactions, as Cobus Kellermann and David Cosgrove owned or managed entities involved at almost every level. It also submitted to the court that the financial positions which resulted may not have been valued correctly.

The four specific transactions in question were to the value of $10 million, $1 million, $1.5 million and $14 million. The Guernsey FSC also questioned the valuation of a property in Stellenbosch that was bought by one of the Mauritian funds for R28.5 million and sold two years later to another for R72 million.

The affidavit further questioned the sale and transfer of R14 million worth of shares in JSE-listed BKOne between funds linked to Kellermann. The transaction was instigated the day before Herman Pretorius murdered Basilues CEO Julian Williams and then committed suicide.

None of the other cells in either the Global Mutual Fund or any of the other funds placed under administration were specifically mentioned in the affidavit. However the FSC did state its belief that the conflicts of interest it uncovered could extend “to a number of other Managed Funds which have advisers with similar ownerships or investments into Four Elements and Two Seasons.”

It therefore requested that all the funds be placed under administration to allow for proper investigation into whether there was any contagion and to protect investors in the case of redemptions, since there is a risk that net asset values may be incorrect.

The specifics

What the affidavit also highlighted was the need to deal in specifics with regards to the allegations against Belvedere. Suspicious activity has been uncovered, and that must be dealt with on its merits.

The question of whether there has been contagion must be followed up. As that happens, more details may emerge.

It is, however, evident that not everything associated with Belvedere is fraudulent, or even suspicious. Within the Belvedere hive there are genuine funds running demonstrably valid mandates with assets that can be verified. One of the issues the regulators are facing, therefore, is the onerous task of separating the good from the bad.

The problem for investors is that until the regulators’ work is complete, they can’t know the difference. And unfortunately for any fund associated with Belvedere, that may be a death sentence.

Hof hoor van band tussen Cobus Kellermann, Herman Pretorius

10 May

Author: Nellie Brand-Jonker 

Publications: Netwerk24

Date Published : 10 Mei 2015

Die baasbrein agter Suid-Afrika se reuse-RVAF-piramideskema, wyle Herman Pretorius, word in hofstukke in Guernsey oor beleggingskemas genoem waarby die Kaapse batebestuurder Cobus Kellermann betrek word.

In die hofstukke daar word gesê van die hoogs riskante Suid-Afrikaanse beleggings wat Kellermann as ’n portefeuljebestuurder van ’n Guernsey-fonds gemaak het, was in maatskappye van Basileus Investments.

Wie was Basileus Investments?

Basileus Investments het in 2012 die nuus gehaal toe sy uitvoerende hoof, Julian Williams, in sy kantoor in die middestad van Kaapstad deur Preto­rius doodgeskiet is. Pretorius het homself daarna geskiet.

Volgens die hofstukkie is die JSE-genoteerde BK One gestig as ’n voertuig waardeur kapitaalinspuitings gemaak kon word om die Basileus-verwante maatskappye te ondersteun.

Paul Yabsley, die ondersoeker van Guernsey se finansiële owerheid, skryf in die hofstukke dat die Strategic-fonds in ’n stadium onder leiding van Kellermann direk en indirek deur fondse van Mauritius beleggings en lenings aan Basileus en sy verwante maatskappye gemaak het.

Die hofstukke verduidelik ook hoe die Strategic-fonds in wese R71 miljoen geleen het aan ’n maatskappy om ’n plaas in Helshoogte te ontwikkel en daarna weer R72 miljoen opgedok het om die plaas te koop – om dié lenings aan homself terug te betaal, volgens Yabsley.

Yabsley verwys na die skietvoorval op 26 Julie 2012 toe Williams deur Pretorius geskiet is, glo oor ’n dispuut oor geld wat Basileus se maatskappy AV Alloy aan hom moes betaal het.

Daar is berig dat dié geld deur Pretorius gebruik is om die beweerde piramideskema te finansier. Dit het later aan die lig gekom dat beleggers R2,2 miljard in Pretorius se Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF) belê het.

Belangebotsings?

Die hofstukke verwys ook na die hoogs omstrede transaksie wat Kellermann gedurende die week van die skietvoorval met BK One-aandele uitgevoer het om die aandele te verkoop. Kellermann was in daardie stadium die eienaar en portefeuljebestuurder van Ankh Analytic wat ’n Ankh-fonds bestuur het wat BK One-aandele besit het.

Ná die skietvoorval het BK One se aandeelprys skerp geval.

Volgens Yabsley is die BK One-aandele aan die Strategic-fonds verkoop teen die prys waarop dit op 25 Julie 2012 verhandel het.

Daar is geen bewyse tot die Guernsey finansiële kommissie se beskikking dat Kellermann in daardie sta­dium enige poging aangewend het om die skietvoorval van Pretorius en Williams en die negatiewe uitwerking wat dit waarskynlik sou hê op die BK ­One-aandele te openbaar nie, voer Yabsley aan.

“Alle aspekte van hierdie transaksie is hoogs twyfelagtig. Sonder twyfel is die Ankh-fondse se belange in BK One verkoop tot voordeel van beleggers in die Ankh-fondse en tot nadeel van die beleggers in die Strategic-fondse.

“Kellermann het groot belangebotsings gehad in alle dele van die transaksie met sowel Ankh as die Strategic-fondse.”

Yabsley sê Kellermann moes al in Junie 2012 bewus gewees het van die bewerings oor die bedrieglike beleggingskema van Pretorius.

Kellermann het onlangs aan Die Burger gesê die opdrag om die BK One-aandele te verkoop, is gegee ’n dag voordat Williams geskiet is. Volgens hom het dit verband gehou met die administrateur van Ankh se opdrag om sekuriteite te verkoop om likiditeit in die fonds te kry.

“Die vereffening van die aandele vind ’n dag of twee ná die transaksie plaas. Daar is niks ongerymd daaraan nie.”

Volgens hom is dit deur die Raad op Finansiële Dienste ondersoek, wat gelukkig was met die antwoorde.

 

Dienstekommissie onthul: Ponzi-manne ‘het lang geskiedenis’

6 May

Author: Marelize Barnard

Publications: Netwerk24

Date Published : 6 Mei 2015

KAAPSTAD. – Wat het die Ponzi-bedrieër wyle Herman Pretorius, die man wat hy doodgeskiet het, Julian Williams, en die beleggingsbestuurder van Welgemoed, Jacobus Kellermann, met mekaar te doen?

’n “Lang geskiedenis” – as dit van die Finansiële Dienstekommissie van die Britse eiland Guernsey (GFSC) afhang.

Die skietery waarin Pretorius op 26 Julie 2012 eers vir Wil­liams en daarna homself geskiet het, is in die Guernsey-hooggeregshof vir die eerste keer in openbare hofdokumente aan internasionale aandeletransaksies gekoppel.

Kellermann, wat net soos Pretorius spogeiendom in Welgemoed aangeskaf het – en ook soos Pretorius ’n voorliefde vir vinnige sportmotors het – word by dié aandeletransaksies betrek. Kellermann en sy sakevennoot, David Cosgrove, is die afgelope twee maande al hoe meer in die nuus oor die beleggingsfondse waarby hulle in veral Mauritius en ook Guernsey betrokke is en ondersoeke na hul betrokkenheid by die bestuur van internasionale beleggingsfondse.

Die Pretorius-skietery:

Pretorius en Williams se skietdood was ’n dag nadat Kellermann betrokke geraak het by die verkoop van 1,4 miljoen aandele in die beleggingsmaatskappy BK One, wat gebruik is as beleggingsmedium om beleggers te kry om in maatskappye te belê wat aan die Basileus-groep behoort het.

Pretorius se beleggers het in een van die Basileus-maatskappye, AV Alloy, belê. In Pretorius se poging om sy Ponzi-skema geheim te hou, het hy R40 miljoen aan Williams geleen om aan sy beleggers uit te betaal en daardeur te probeer voorgee alles gaan goed.

Williams en Pretorius het hieroor gestry, wat klaarblyklik tot die skietvoorval gelei het.

Op dieselfde dag van die skietvoorval is 1,4 miljoen aandele in BK One verhandel. Dit is aandele wat aan Ankh behoort het, ’n beleggingsfonds wat deur Kellermann bestuur is.

Die verkoop van aandele:

Die Ankh-aandele in BK One is volgens die Guernsey-hofstukke deur nog ’n entiteit, Citygate (’n maatskappy in Mauritius wat deur Kellermann en Cosgrove bestuur is), aan nog ’n entiteit, Strategic Cells, verkoop. Die verkoopsprys was glo teen die waarde van die aandele soos vasgestel die dag voor die skietvoorval.

Intussen het die skietvoorval ’n “dramatiese” impak gehad op die waarde van die BK One-aandele. “Alle aspekte van die transaksie” kan volgens die hofstukke voor die Guernsey-hooggeregshof op hoogste vlak bevraag-teken word. Daar word aange-voer dat Kellermann in ’n groot-skaalse belangebotsing was omdat hy namens Ankh én Strategic Cells opgetree het.

Kellerman het volgens die bewerings van die Guernsey Finansiële Dienstekommissie nie die nodige inligting van die skietvoorval of die moontlike negatiewe nagevolge wat dit op die BK One- en Basileus-aandele sou kon hê aan die relevante betrokkenes verklaar nie.

Wat sê Kellermann?

Kellermann het op 25 Maart aan Die Burger gesê hy was as raadgewer betrokke by ’n maatskappy wat genoteerde BK One-aandele gekoop het. Die beleggingspan het dit verkoop na aanlei-­ding van ’n versoek van die besturende maatskappy om kontant in die portefeulje te verhoog.

Kellermann en Cosgrove het gister deur hul regsverteenwoordiger, Werksmans-regsfirma, by navraag oor die bewerings in die Guernsey-hofaansoek gesê hulle gaan vir eers nie verder kommentaar lewer nie.

Belvedere allegations: Money in SA unit trusts is safe

20 Apr

Author: Patrick Cairns

Publications: MoneyWeb

Date Published: 14 April 2015

CAPE TOWN – The allegations that local fund manager Cobus Kellerman could be involved in a $16 billion (R200 billion) Ponzi scheme through the Mauritian-domiciled Belvedere Management Limited has caused a lot of consternation in South Africa. Many investors have been worried that money they put into unit trusts managed by Kellerman could be at risk.

Kellerman established Clarus Capital in 2009. Until July last year, Clarus managed a number of funds administered by MET Collective Investments, including the Clarus MET Equity Value Fund and the Clarus Optimal Fund.

These funds, although they still carry the Clarus branding, are now managed by Contego Asset Management. Contego is still awaiting approval from the Financial Services Board (FSB) to change their names.

Contego took over management of these funds after signing a new investment management agreement with MET Collective Investments in 2014. Since July last year, therefore, Kellerman has not been involved in these funds in any capacity.

However, even when he was managing these funds, there was no opportunity for him to take money out of them. The South African unit trust market is highly regulated and there are always custodians that stand between the investors and the fund managers to prevent any kind of fraudulent activity.

“In the history of unit trusts in South Africa there has never been any evidence of a fraudulent act,” says JC Louw, the Asset Management CEO at Contego. “Kellerman could not have touched the money in these funds.”

Every unit trust has an appointed administrator and fund trustee. These are reflected on the fund fact sheets.

The administrator is responsible for verifying the assets held in the fund, while the trustee is a bank which holds those assets in trust. In effect, the fund manager doesn’t actually handle any money. They run the fund off a spreadsheet.

“We can’t withdraw money and the trustee bank will not pay out to a third party,” Louw says. “The custodian will only pay out to a FICA verified bank account supplied by the investor.”

It is also not possible for a unit trust to invest in any unlisted instruments, so a manager cannot divert funds into an obscure holding that they can then raid. The assets held by the fund must always be verifiable by the administrator.

“So there is no evidence whatsoever of money that has gone missing and no evidence of irregularities in South African funds whatsoever,” Louw says. “South African unit trusts are safe.”

The scale of the allegations

The allegations about Kellerman and his partners at Belvedere, Irishman David Cosgrove and Mauritian accountant Kenneth Maillard were first made in an article on OffshoreAlert. It claimed that Belvedere “appears to be one of the biggest criminal financial enterprises in history”.

It based this on Belvedere’s submission to the Mauritian Financial Services Commission that it has $16 billion (R200 billion) of assets under administration, management and advisory. OffshoreAlert suggested that all of this is at risk.

The amount of money in question is huge. It almost matches all of the assets under management in Allan Gray’s South African unit trusts, and is almost twice as much as that managed by Nedgroup Investments in its suite of unit trusts.

However, Moneyweb made enquiries at a number of large local financial advisers and none had heard of Belvedere before the rumours broke. Nor did they have any knowledge of RDL Management – the investment management and advisory arm of Belvedere of which Kellerman is the 50% owner.

This is in rather stark contrast to Herman Pretorius’s R3.1 billion RVAF Ponzi, which was widely known when he committed suicide.

This may be an indication that there is not a lot of South African money with Belvedere. It also raises questions about the allegations in general.

It takes a long time to accumulate an asset pool of that size, and Belvedere is reported to have over 120 funds. So far, however, the only claim that anybody has not been able to recover money from any of them are those from the deVere Group.

deVere is an independent financial advisory group, and seems to be the primary source of information supplied to OffshoreAlert. It claims that clients lost money in one of the fund’s administered by Belvedere: the Strategic Growth Fund.

However, no other investors appear to have come forward to claim that any money invested in any of Belvedere’s other vehicles is unrecoverable. That doesn’t mean there isn’t impropriety going on, but it does raise questions about what evidence really exists.

Kellerman was not available for comment at the time of publication.

Belvedere Management: Massive Criminal Enterprise or Defamed Fund Manager?Posted on April 11, 2015 by

11 Apr

Author:  

Publications: naked capitalism

Date Published :11 April 2015

…….. Looking a little further afield in the Belvedere fund universe, we find some other nuggets.

First, Belvedere runs some onshore funds in South Africa, but a presumably rather sweaty independent audit, initiated very soon after Marchant’s article came out, says they’re fine.

Second, Belvedere man Cobus Kellerman had some wonderful investment timing when his Ankh Analytic sold out its indirect holdings in Basileus Capital on the very day its principal, Julian Williams, was shot and killed  by his former business partner Hermann Pretorius, who then shot himself.  Pretorius’ RVAF Trust then turned out to be a Ponzi. Basileus Capital got into difficulties too:

The empire of slain businessman Julian Williams appears poised for collapse, following the announcement that his Basileus Capital group has initiated “business rescue proceedings”.

Business rescue is an alternative to liquidation provided for under the updated Companies Act.

Also at risk are investors in the JSE-listed BK One, a capital-raising vehicle for Basileus.

There is a trail of related party trans­actions, comprising intercompany investments, loans and write-offs, which raise questions about how much of the cash Basileus was able to raise from investors actually made its way into the project “pipeline” of which it boasted.

Belvedere crops up in the BK One story again, benefitting handsomely from a relatively terrible BK One deal for shares in Avalloy:

The February report discloses that R52-million was used to buy shares in Avalloy from SA Superalloys and from a mysterious Mauritian investment fund called Four Elements. A further R11.6-million was spent in taking over a loan to Avalloy that Four Elements had extended. Part of the loan had been converted into shareholding, meaning BK One had bought an effective 10.5% shareholding in Avalloy at a cost of R65-million. In contrast, the Industrial Development Corporation got its 10% in effect for free – a bonus for providing a R35-million loan.

Even more curious is that an associate of Four Elements was the major subscriber to shares in BK One, accounting for nearly half of the R200-million raised. The second-biggest shareholder in BK One, with 17%, is another Mauritian entity, Two Seasons, which shares the same management team as Four Elements: Ken Maillard and David Cosgrove of Belvedere Management, Mauritius. A message left on Belvedere’s automated answering service went unanswered.

Third, Belvedere funds made (purportedly modest) investments in the very dreadful Harlequin Property scheme, famous in the UK, a  resort development company that sucked up £400Mn of investor funds and ran out of cash with hardly any of the promised development complete.

Fourth, David Cosgrove of Belvedere has some previous form:

The now exposed Belvedere Ponzi kingpin David Cosgrove is no stranger to the South African financial authorities. Just over a decade back, he single handedly collapsed JSE-listed financial services company mCubed after the Reserve Bank and SARS discovered he was helping clients to illegally ship money offshore.

Described by those who know him as a high-pressure salesman who considers laws and regulations the same way SA taxi drivers view traffic lights, Cosgrove used the institutional offshore allowance as a vehicle to prey on rich South Africans nervous about the country’s future.

When the scheme was discovered, the authorities levelled a R140m fine on mCubed, which in effect killed the business, a piece of which was later picked up by the equally corrupted Fidentia. As a result, Cosgrove is about as popular at the Financial Services Board and in SA financial circles generally, as Netanyahu would be at an ISIS gathering………..

Bedrog: Enorme opbrengs altyd ‘n rooi vlag

24 Mar

Author: Hanlie Stadler

Publications: Netwerk24

Date Published : 24 Maart 2015

BESKERM JOUSELF SÓ TEEN PONZI-SKEMAS, ANDER BEDROG

Moenie belê in iets wat jy nie verstaan nie, moenie jou ore om die braaivleisvuur uitleen nie en moenie probeer vinnig ryk word nie. Dít is kortom die beste maniere waarop jy keer dat jy die slagoffer van ‘n Ponzi- of ander bedrieër word. Luister ook na die klankgreep wat ‘n Ponzi-skema maklike verduidelik.

Moenie belê in iets wat jy nie verstaan nie – selfs al ís dit ’n goeie belegging. As jy dit nie verstaan nie, weet jy nie wat die risiko van ’n belegging behels nie.

Moenie luister na kroegpraatjies nie – iemand wat besig is om geld te maak, kan beslis nie vir jou ’n objektiewe mening gee nie. Dis dalk nou net die ou wat nog betyds in ’n Ponzi-skema belê het om enorme opbrengste te behaal. Jy’s dalk die arme drommel wat belê wanneer die skema in duie begin stort.

Maar die belangrikste van alles is: Moenie onrealistiese verwagtinge oor opbrengste hê nie.

Dít is kortom die raad van Gavin Came, voorsitter van die komitee oor finansiële beplanning van die vereniging vir finansiële tussengangers van Suid-Afrika (FIA), na aanleiding van die nuutste beweerde bedrogspul wat oopgevlek is in die Suid-Afrikaanse beleggingswêreld.

’n Geoktrooieerde rekenmeester van Welgemoed in Kaapstad, Cobus Kellerman, word betrek by ’n beweerde Ponzi-skema wat via Mauritius sake gedoen het en na verneem word R200 miljard se bates onder bestuur het. Kellerman het na bewering bande gehad met Herman Pretorius, wat homself om die lewe gebring het toe sy bedrog aan die lig gekom het.

Duisende mense verloor jaarliks miljarde rande – dikwels hul aftreegeld – in twyfelagtige en bedrieglike “beleggings”. Hoe keer jy dat jy ’n slagoffer raak?

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