Spies & lies AS A LOVE AF­FAIR ENDS

Tryst be­tween Sars ex­ec­u­tive and spy-lawyer Belinda Wal­ter ends in an ugly way. Jac­ques Pauw goes back to the begin­ning

CityPress - - News -

Break­ing up is never easy – but the end of the re­la­tion­ship be­tween a top SA Rev­enue Ser­vice (Sars) in­ves­ti­ga­tor and a Pre­to­ria lawyer was par­tic­u­larly bit­ter. Jo­han van Loggen­berg is Sars’ group ex­ec­u­tive for en­force­ment in­ves­ti­ga­tions, pur­su­ing il­licit to­bacco smugglers; al­leged mob­sters like Glenn Agliotti, Radovan Kre­j­cir and Lolly Jackson; and white-col­lar crooks like Dave King, Billy Raut­en­bach and Barry Tan­nen­baum.

Belinda Wal­ter is a lawyer from Pre­to­ria. She has also, she con­fessed to Van Loggen­berg and his bosses at Sars, worked as a spy for the Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions Unit, a shad­owy set-up within the State Se­cu­rity Agency (SSA).

They be­gan dat­ing Oc­to­ber last year and split up in May.

VI­CIOUS AL­LE­GA­TIONS

Last month, Wal­ter sub­mit­ted a com­plaint to Van Loggen­berg’s Sars bosses in which she called him men­tally ill, un­sta­ble, cor­rupt, a patho­log­i­cal liar and a so­ciopath “likened to a pae­dophile”.

In her com­plaint to Sars, which City Press has seen, Wal­ter admits she has been a state agent since Oc­to­ber 2010, that she “wore a record­ing de­vice for the state” when she met Van Loggen­berg and she was the one who “play­fully sug­gested a date” last Oc­to­ber.

Wal­ter ap­peared be­fore a Sars panel re­cently. She was ques­tioned, asked to make an af­fi­davit and to pro­vide it with ev­i­dence to start a for­mal dis­ci­plinary in­ves­ti­ga­tion against Van Loggen­berg.

She did none of this and her lawyer in­formed Sars last week that she had with­drawn her com­plaint “with­out prej­u­dice”.

Wal­ter has not re­sponded to nu­mer­ous emails, phone calls or text mes­sages seek­ing her com­ment.

Van Loggen­berg said: “In hind­sight, even the fool is wise. I can­not say whether she in­fil­trated me de­lib­er­ately or not. But I fell in love with her and tried to deal with our prob­lems in order to save the re­la­tion­ship in the best way that I could.

“I con­sider it a pri­vate mat­ter and I don’t want to talk about it fur­ther. I have made all the data in my pos­ses­sion avail­able to the rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties. All her al­le­ga­tions are false, base­less and a very clear at­tempt to dis­credit me.”

A CON­FLICT OF IN­TER­EST

Soon af­ter Van Loggen­berg and Wal­ter went on their first date last Oc­to­ber and a se­ri­ous re­la­tion­ship blos­somed, he dis­cov­ered she was the lawyer for al­leged to­bacco smugglers Sars was try­ing to nab.

So he told his bosses about their re­la­tion­ship and asked her to vol­un­tar­ily sub­mit to both a tax au­dit and an au­dit of her prac­tice by the Law So­ci­ety of SA. He asked her to ditch these clients, which she did.

Wal­ter later con­fessed to Van Loggen­berg she was an

Then I miss the way you held my hand / It felt bet­ter than a bil­lion rand

Now I wouldn’t touch you if my life de­pended on it. So f**k off, f**knut

agent for the Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions Unit of the SSA. He asked her to re­sign from this po­si­tion as well, and she claimed she had done so.

But it later emerged that Wal­ter had re­tained her re­la­tion­ship with the SSA and her con­tact with rogue Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions Unit agents.

SMOKE AND MIR­RORS

Dur­ing their re­la­tion­ship, Van Loggen­berg also asked Wal­ter to re­sign from her chair­per­son­ship of the Fair Trade In­de­pen­dent To­bacco As­so­ci­a­tion, an or­gan­i­sa­tion that unites smaller cig­a­rette man­u­fac­tur­ers against in­dus­try gi­ants like Bri­tish Amer­i­can To­bacco (BAT).

Wal­ter al­leges in her Sars com­plaint that the Fair Trade In­de­pen­dent To­bacco As­so­ci­a­tion was set up by the SSA, ap­par­ently to get di­rect ac­cess to cer­tain to­bacco role play­ers.

Van Loggen­berg also dis­cov­ered that while Wal­ter was rep­re­sent­ing smaller man­u­fac­tur­ers, she was also on BAT’s pay­roll – ap­par­ently on be­half of the Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions Unit. City Press is in pos­ses­sion of doc­u­ments that show Wal­ter re­ceived R450 000 from BAT last year. The money was paid into a cash pass­port card in Lon­don and never de­clared to Sars.

Wal­ter con­fessed in a text mes­sage to Van Loggen­berg: “I feel so dis­gusted and dis­ap­pointed in my­self. I want to sleep so all these emo­tions of ex­treme guilt, re­morse, re­gret and sad­ness don’t con­sume me.”

By May this year, their ro­mance was on the rocks – but not be­fore Wal­ter gave three old cell­phones to Van Loggen­berg and asked him to help her re­trieve old text mes­sages and put them on a flash drive. He did so.

Wal­ter said in a text mes­sage to Van Loggen­berg on May 15: “I made phe­nom­e­nal sac­ri­fices for you, I was com­mit­ted to you. I be­lieved your speeches on your hon­our, your in­tegrity. I am sad you are not that person.”

She also sent him a poem: “I miss the way you held my hand / It felt bet­ter than a bil­lion rand / I miss you as my ears and eyes / Shar­ing se­crets, just like spies.”

THE BIT­TER END

Soon af­ter­wards, the tone of their mes­sages turned nasty. Wal­ter warned Van Loggen­berg on May 27: “Rest as­sured ev­ery email, What­sApp and ex­changes where you im­part in­for­ma­tion on other tax­pay­ers is safely stored.” Van Loggen­berg: “Leave me alone now, please.” Wal­ter: “I wouldn’t touch you if my life de­pended on it. So f**k off, f**knut!”

Af­ter the two had bro­ken up, Van Loggen­berg was ap­proached and warned – iron­i­cally by some of the al­leged to­bacco smugglers he was in­ves­ti­gat­ing – that Wal­ter had in­fil­trated him on be­half of the Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions Unit.

“Belinda told me she was go­ing to in­fil­trate you,” reads a text mes­sage from one.

In June, Wal­ter sent a mes­sage to an al­leged cig­a­rette smug­gler: “F**knut’s day of reck­on­ing has come.”

Once Wal­ter had sub­mit­ted her com­plaint to Sars, Van Loggen­berg started his own in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Wal­ter’s pos­si­ble vendetta against him.

He still had a copy of the hun­dreds of text mes­sages he had re­trieved from Wal­ter’s old cell­phones. He scru­ti­nised them – and a cloak-and-dag­ger world of al­leged de­ceit and crim­i­nal­ity un­folded be­fore his eyes.

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