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Johannesburg - The Hawks have nabbed a businessman in East London suspected of using his property investment company to dupe investors out of about R74 million.

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation on Monday said it had arrested Guillaume Johannes Malherbe (57) for alleged fraud and breaking the rules of the Bank Act.

"Malherbe allegedly used his property development company to entice unsuspecting clients to invest in his company by promising them monthly returns. He allegedly duped about 263 investors from all over South Africa, that they would acquire shares in the form of property developments, some of which he apparently did not own," said Hawks spokesperson, Captain Anelisa Feni.

The Hawks investigated the matter after it was reported to its Serious Commercial Crime unit in Port Elizabeth. 

The suspect was arrested on Friday after he handed himself over to the members. He appeared briefly in the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crime Court on Friday 

Feni said Malherbe was released on a warning. His next court appearance is on 11 October 2017.