Face-off be­tween lawyer and ‘mafia’

Po­lice had to defuse tense sit­u­a­tion be­tween Viljoen and Meyer

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - DE WET POT­GI­ETER

A BLOOD­BATH was nar­rowly averted this week when Pre­to­ria’s celebrity lawyer squared up to a no­to­ri­ous gold re­finer and al­leged mafia boss over un­paid debts.

Peet Viljoen, whose con­tro­ver­sial use of the cap­i­tal’s most feared bouncer, Brian Her­mann, was ex­clu­sively re­vealed in sis­ter paper the Satur­day Star last week, ar­rived with an en­forcer and the sher­iff of the high court and walked into the home of Juan Meyer and his posse of eight weapon-car­ry­ing body­guards at Cen­tu­rion’s up­mar­ket res­i­den­tial es­tate, Corn­wall Hill.

Viljoen was bran­dish­ing a court or­der in his hand for the re­pay­ment of R405 000 from Meyer, still out­stand­ing from the orig­i­nal in­stal­la­tion of R2 mil­lion worth of au­dio­vi­sual equip­ment supplied by Sound and Im­age in Men­lyn Pre­to­ria.

Meyer has ad­mit­ted that he owes the money, but says he is with­hold­ing pay­ment un­til the com­pany fixes out­stand­ing prob­lems with the equip­ment.

The ten­sion reached break­ing point as the two groups flung in­sults at each other.

Within min­utes, heav­ily armed po­lice swooped on the up­mar­ket com­plex.

By­standers claimed af­ter­wards that Meyer’s body­guards warned the po­lice they would open fire on Viljoen and his party rather than let him en­ter.

Meyer told po­lice that the celebrity lawyer, who counts Spring­bok Joost van der Westhuizen and Afrikaans singer Steve Hofmeyr among his clients, had threat­ened him with phys­i­cal vi­o­lence the week be­fore.

The body­builder and for­mer boxer told of­fi­cers that Viljoen had threat­ened to send Her­mann to break his arms and legs if he didn’t pay the money he owed the Men­lyn firm.

“He also boasted that he was a very good lawyer and would f**k ev­ery­body up in court and had brought many big com­pa­nies to their knees, but that he would pre­fer to set­tle this is­sue with­out hav­ing to go to court.”

Meyer also took ex­cep­tion to the word­ing in court pa­pers de­scrib­ing him as a mafia boss. This fol­lowed his re­cent ap­pear­ance on the M-Net ac­tu­al­ity pro­gramme, Carte Blanche, about state­ments he had made in the O’Sul­li­van dossier about Czech fugi­tive bil­lion­aire Radovan Kre­j­cir’s al­leged crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties and his re­la­tion­ship with crime in­tel­li­gence boss Joey Mabasa.

Last week, Viljoen felt com­pelled to get an in­ter­dict against Her­mann, pre­vent­ing his en­forcer from com­ing within 500m of him or his fam­ily, af­ter the two fell out.

Viljoen claimed he had to get le­gal pro­tec­tion be­cause he could not de­fend him­self against Her­mann – a for­mer na­tional cruis­er­weight cham­pion and an ex­treme cage fighter. Her­mann re­vealed de­tails of how Viljoen had used him to threaten, in­tim­i­date and as­sault his ri­vals and busi­ness as­so­ci­ates.

“I am a skinny lit­tle lawyer who, at the best of times, merely weighs 90kg,” Viljoen said. “How can I phys­i­cally take on those big guys?”

He de­nied too that he threat­ened Meyer with Her­mann, adding there would be no rea- son since he had in­ter­dicted the bouncer from com­ing within 500m of him and his fam­ily.

Meyer first tried to avoid the im­pact of the court or­der by claim­ing he didn’t own the prop­erty.

Af­ter hours of de­lib­er­a­tions be­tween his lawyers, Viljoen and the sher­iff and by tele­phone, Meyer re­lented and the equip­ment was packed up into boxes.

Shortly af­ter­wards he man­aged to over­tur n the court or­der and the deputy sher­iff and Sound and Im­age’s tech­ni­cians re­turned, un­packed and re­con­nected the sound sys­tem and plasma screens.

Brent Durr, man­ager of Sound and Im­age, said Meyer had been a good client of theirs for sev­eral years.

“We have given him am­ple time to pay the out­stand­ing R405 000 and he must un­der­stand such an out­stand­ing amount gives us prob­lems with our cash flow in the busi­ness. We are re­ally not try­ing to be un­rea­son­able.”

PIC­TURE: DE WET POT­GI­ETER

SHOW­DOWN: Juan Meyer and Peet Viljoen con­front each other in Cen­tu­rion.

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