Next week Ian Brakspear goes to court; a little guy standing up against some giants (the large and prestigious law firm Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs (ENS) as well as Nedbank) and in some ways the whole legal establishment.
You can read in depth about the shocking miscarriage of justice (perpetrated in the main by a director of ENS, Leornard Katz) in Noseweek 177, on the consumer rights website NewERA and even on praag.org, but very briefly: Brakspear had a wine farm that was losing him money, he could not repay the bond to RMB bank and so looked to sell, and in fact he had a firm offer for R37.75 million, easily able to repay the bond of around R13 million. So no problem there. He had used a trust of his in Jersey to guarantee the bond and so he let Fairbain Trust know, as this Nedbank subsidiary acted as trustee on his behalf. Still no problem, and Brakspear had acted correctly all along. Now comes a cock-up; the MD of Fairbain cc’s an e-mail meant only for Brakspear to the potential buyer, who realises it could suddenly turn into a distressed sale and he could get the farm for a whole lot less, so he withdraws the offer. It is by now too late for Brakspear to find another buyer, the bond was foreclosed and the farm auctioned to the same buyer for R18 million. Huge and costly cock-up, and one that left Nedbank facing a large damages claim. A cock-up but they happen, the really bad stuff happened only after that.
The neighbouring farm is owned by Johann Rupert and he intimated that he would have been prepared to pay R25 million for the farm. Leonard Katz decided therefore to sequestrate Brakspear personally, which would remove the threat of a damages claim and allow the liquidators to cancel the 18 million sale and enter into another with Johann Rupert. An illegal, immoral and unethical scheme that would prejudice Brakspear hugely even though he had done nothing wrong.
It gets worse because in order to sequestrate Brakspear it seems that Katz got two Nedbank honchos, Nico Botha and David McReady, to invent a loan to Brakspear’s trust. How these two bankers could be persuaded to go along with the scheme only they can tell you, although I will be e-mailing them personally to ask them.
The baddies then faked a court order and got the sheriff to attach Brakspear’s property, and that stage they probably thought they were home and dry, but thank goodness Brakspear knew that there was no loan and fought back. Representing himself due to lack of funds Brakspear has had to face vilification as well as physical threats.
Let us hope that next week’s case sees some relief for over David and some jail time for the collective Goliath. Probably not, but let’s hope.