DURBAN – Gregory Fourie, one of the men accused of running a multi-million rand gold smuggling syndicate was out on bail when he was arrested by the Hawks last week. According to reports, Fourie was arrested in November 2019, on similar charges.
According to the NPA, Fourie with four others and three companies are facing about 1 409 charges ranging from theft to illegal dealing and possession in unwrought gold.
NPA spokesperson, Phindi Mjonondwane, said Fourie, Daniel Kalmon Dabush, Michelle Fourie, Clifford Craig Fourie, Andrew Mbongeni Sithole, with Hybrid Diamonds and Gold Pty (Ltd), Cham Bridging Pty (Ltd) and Michelle’s Second Chances are also charged with money laundering of over R1 billion. The value of the illegal gold transactions is valued at R275 million.
Mjonondwane said these illegal transactions took place over the period March 2018 to November 2019 at a warehouse in the East Rand.
"Illegal unwrought gold was delivered to Fourie at the warehouse. The companies played an integral part in the money laundering that followed.
All accused were released on bail ranging from R50 000 to R150 000, except for Mbongeni who remains in custody until the hearing of his bail application set down for Wednesday," she said.
Last week, the Hawks reported that the accused were arrested in a twin operation carried out in Mpumalanga and Gauteng.
Colonel Katlego Mogale said the operation is a culmination of investigations and evidence gathering following an armed robbery at a gold mine in Stilfontein in 2019 where large quantities of gold were stolen.
The Serious Organised Crime team worked tirelessly in identifying the suspects, tracing of the gold to the refinery where its reported to be legitimised. The quantum value involved is about R1bn.
"Eight premises were searched where four vehicles which were bought in cash, were confiscated as the investigation continues," Mogale said.
In 2019, Algoa Fm reported that Fourie was arrested in Sebenza in Edenvale for possession of illegal possession of unwrought gold.
He was allegedly linked to an armed robbery where unwrought gold valued at R35m was stolen in Stilfontein earlier that same year.
Police said cellphones, a diamond loop and gold transaction notes, reflecting transactions worth over R25m and a diamond tester were confiscated.
Fourie was released on R50 000 bail and the matter was postponed to February pending further investigation.