Convicted gangster turned businessman Gayton McKenzie. Picture: Henk Kruger.

Johannesburg - Gold Fields Ltd.’s 2010 black economic empowerment deal benefited acquaintances of convicted South African bank robber Gayton McKenzie, he said.

“Yes, people who knew me were included in the BEE deal,” he said in a response to a Mail & Guardian article posted on a website connected to his Twitter account. “Was there anything wrong with that? No, of course not.”

About 330 million rand ($30 million) of shares were received by McKenzie’s associates as part of the 2.1 billion rand BEE deal, according to the newspaper, citing shell company share registers. Johannesburg-based television program Carte Blanche contributed to the report, M&G said.

Sven Lunsche, a spokesman for Gold Fields, declined to comment on the report and McKenzie’s response.

“I am very unapologetic about my role in this BEE deal,” McKenzie said.

“I did not make all the decisions; that was up to the board.” McKenzie he said in an interview with Enews Channel Africa in September that, after spending 10 years in jail earlier in his life, he is now a “reformed criminal.”

He is now a businessman and author.

Gold Fields chief executive Nick Holland offered to waive his bonus this year because of “concerns” relating to the 2010 sale of a stake in its South Deep mine to black South Africans, under the country’s empowerment laws.

Gold Fields conducted a probe into the deal and said it needed to increase transparency in August after Carte Blanche reported that the transaction benefited influential people who helped it win a mining license.

“The implementation of the transaction did not consistently meet the high standards set by Gold Fields,” the company said August 22 after examining the deal.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the transaction in the US, where investors can trade Gold Fields stock through American depositary receipts. - Bloomberg News