Who is Walter Hennig?
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. —