Who is Wal­ter Hen­nig?

Sunday Times - - NEWS - Pear­lie Jou­bert

WAL­TER Hen­nig, a South African busi­ness­man based in Lon­don, is the CEO of Pal­ladino and nu­mer­ous trusts and off­shore-listed com­pa­nies. He is said to have made a sub­stan­tial for­tune in di­a­mond trad­ing, min­ing and en­ergy.

Hen­nig and his fa­ther, Oloff, who boasted a close re­la­tion­ship with “the great train robber, Ron­nie Biggs”, own the Stawelk­lip farm in Piket­berg, West­ern Cape, and are known lo­cally as the “may­ors of Piket­berg”.

Hen­nig’s as­so­ciates say he is ob­ses­sive about not get­ting his pic­ture taken or pub­lished. On­line com­pany records show he is in­volved in about 40 com­pa­nies.

It is a mat­ter of pub­lic record that Mvela chief ex­ec­u­tive Mark Willcox and former hous­ing min­is­ter and pres­i­den­tial hope­ful Tokyo Sexwale have been busi­ness as­so­ciates of Hen­nig’s for years, al­low­ing them to amass for­tunes through their Mvela Hold­ings, Sexwale’s Mve­laphanda Hold­ings and Hen­nig’s Pal­ladino Hold­ings.

Hen­nig is a share­holder in Mve­laphanda Hold­ings and an ac­tive di­rec­tor of Mve­laphanda Lo­gis­tics and Mve­laphanda In­dus­trial Projects.

Pal­ladino is an opaque com­pany reg­is­tered in Septem­ber 2003 in the Turks and Caicos is­lands, part of the Ba­hamas.

The is­lands have a rep­u­ta­tion as a tax haven and have for years been re­garded as part of the “grey list” of bank­ing havens which al­low the world’s wealthy al­most com­plete fi­nan­cial anonymity and paving the way for tax abuses through off­shore ju­ris­dic­tions. Pal­ladino Cap­i­tal 2 is Hen­nig’s com­pany, along with Pal­ladino Hold­ings and all its de­riv­a­tives.

Sexwale’s Mve­laphanda Hold­ings has a long-stand­ing and close busi­ness and per­sonal as­so­ci­a­tion with Willcox and Hen­nig.

Five years ago, it was an­nounced that the trio, through the JSE-listed Mve­laphanda Hold­ings, Och-Ziff Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment in the US and Pal­ladino Hold­ings, had formed a joint-ven­ture in­vest­ment com­pany, named Africa Man­age­ment Limited (AML), and es­tab­lished African Global Cap­i­tal as an in­vest­ment plat­form. Al­though Willcox was named CEO, his lawyer, Rael Gootkin from Werks­mans, said: “Willcox does not have nor has held any share­hold­ing or ben­e­fi­cial in­ter­est in AML, di­rectly or in­di­rectly.”

Re­cently, the Wall Street Jour­nal pro­duced doc­u­ments show­ing how OchZiff pro­vided loans to­talling $234-mil­lion (about R2.5-bil­lion) to Is­raeli busi­ness­man Dan Gertler. They were used to fi­nance an oil pro­ject in the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo.

The first loan of $115-mil­lion was pro­vided by an in­vest­ment fund man­aged by Och-Ziff and its South African part­ners, re­ported to be Willcox, Hen­nig and Sexwale. —

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