Warrant of arrest issued for co-accused in multimillion-rand abalone case
PORT ELIZABETH - The trial involving a suspected kingpin of a multimillion-rand perlemoen smuggling syndicate was expected to resume in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Tuesday but was brought to a halt because one of the men charged in the case was a no show.
Julian Brown, 32, is facing a string of charges which include racketeering.
Brown is charged, alongside his alleged employees, Eugene Victor, 33, and Brandon Turner, 38.
Victor who was previously released on bail, did not pitch for court proceedings on Tuesday and a warrant for his arrest was issued.
According to the indictment, Brown faces an additional charge of money laundering in relation to the purchase of a luxury vehicle.
The prosecution alleges that during September 2015, Brown visited Dada’s Motorland, a secondhand car dealer near Fourways, Gauteng, and expressed interest in a white Ferrari California valued at almost R1.9 million.
Brown allegedly approached Martin Kriel, asked him to buy the Ferrari, finance it and register it in his name in lieu of a payment of R500 000 in cash.
Brown agreed to pay the monthly installments in cash to Kriel.
He then gave Kriel the amount of R502 000 in cash in return for the transaction.
In October 2015, Kriel bought and financed the Ferrari California, and the vehicle was registered in his name.
The luxury vehicle was delivered to Kriel’s residence, and Brown collected it at a later stage.
The state believes the R502 000 was the proceeds of unlawful perlemoen activities.
Other men listed in the indictment are associates who allegedly helped Brown build up his multimillion-rand perlemoen enterprise.
In a detailed indictment, the prosecution sets out the nature of the business, which allegedly involved the packing, drying, salting, freezing and processing of abalone for sale outside South Africa.
The indictment states these alleged operations took place across Nelson Mandela Bay involving a number of role players. Operations ran from namely, Forest Hill, Algoa Park , Westering, Sherwood, Kamma Ridge and North End.
The state further alleges that in May 2015 Turner operated an illegal abalone processing establishment from his home in Westering, where 7570 units of abalone weighing over one ton were later discovered.
Brown earlier claimed that he made his money from scrap metal and the sale of second-hand cars before registering his construction business, J&B Construction.
The case was postponed until Wednesday.
*Receive IOL's top stories via Whatsapp by sending your name to 0745573535.