Corruption accused Angelo Agrizzi appeared at the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court where he was denied bail, with the court saying, he was a flight risk. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency/ANA
Corruption accused Angelo Agrizzi appeared at the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court where he was denied bail, with the court saying, he was a flight risk. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency/ANA

’Severe flight risk’ cited as Angelo Agrizzi is denied bail

By Sihle Mlambo, Baldwin Ndaba Time of article published Oct 14, 2020

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Johannesburg - Corruption accused former Bosasa executive Angelo Agrizzi has been denied bail in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court.

Magistrate Philip Venter, in reading out a lengthy bail judgment on Wednesday afternoon, concurred with prosecutors and the investigating officer in the matter, that Agrizzi was a severe flight risk.

Agrizzi’s medical condition was unable to persuade Venter to grant him bail. He had missed the first appearance when his co-accused, former ANC parlimentarian Vincent Smith appeared in the same court weeks back.

Agrizzi was seen in court with a small oxygen device.

He was denied bail after the State made representations in court, that Agrizzi failed to disclose that he had made several investments in Italy, including the purchase of a house, a luxury car and had over €700 000 (around R13.5 million) in cash in offshore accounts.

Agrizzi also had a large sum of money in cryptocurrency, the State said.

State prosecutor Adv Arno Rossouw read out an affidavit from Lieutenant Colonel Lazarus who said their investigation found that in March, Agrizzi had since December 2018 moved large amounts of cash to offshore accounts including acquiring property abroad.

The court heard that the last amount to be moved was an amount of R30m which was deposited into an offshore account of his wife on March 20 this year.

The State was adamant that Agrizzi was planning to flee the country and live an expensive lifestyle abroad.

During the bail judgment, Venter said Agrizzi had two opportunities to disclose his offshore investments, first, to the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court and in the Palm Ridge Magistrates Court.

He did not, and this, said the magistrate, showed that he chose to keep it a secret although the assets were bought and moved legally with the knowledge of the local revenue services.

“Indeed there is nothing wrong with foreign investments. They have all been acquired legally through knowledge with the revenue services.

“The issue is why hide it? Why not disclose it from the onset?,” said Venter, adding that Agrizzi had at least two opportunities to disclose his investments.

Venter cited the matter of the Gupta brothers fleeing South Africa and concurred with the State that if Agrizzi fled the country, it would be expensive and prolonged experience to attempt to extradite him.

He also said even though Home Affairs and Customs could be notified to ref-flag Agrizzi, it was possible that he could escape the country through the country’s porous borders and with enough cash in his hands.

“I cannot put blinkers in my eyes, I would be naive to deny that our borders are porous. Even without a passport, with enough money in hand, you can ensure safe crossing into one of our neighboring countries, from there, anywhere else (Italy).

“From all considered, I am satisfied that Mr Agrizzi has the financial means to setup and sustain a comfortable lifestyle elsewhere should he decide to abscond.

“Can these fears be addressed in a less invasive manner? If Mr Agrizzi wants to abscond, no bail condition is going to keep him here, even if his name is red-flagged to Customs. That will assume he tries to depart from a controlled border post,” said Venter..

“Your application for bail is dismissed,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Investigating Directorate spokesperson Sindisiwe Twala said Agrizzi had previously disclosed that he and his wife only owned R2.6m in movable assets and R14m in immovable assets.

As of February 2019, the ID found that the Agrizzis owned R35m in movable assets, including art, jewellery and furniture.

The ID also found that the immovable property which he claimed he could not afford to lose, was owned by the Agrizzi Family Trust and was being used as security for loans made to Agrizzi in his personal capacity by ABSA.

“By 24 January 2019 he owed ABSA R7 953 939.52 and has made no further payment of the loan since 1 February 2019. The trust has recently tried to auction the property to pay ABSA.

“While he told the court that he was a South African Citizen with strong emotional ties in the Republic of South Africa, he did not disclose that he also had strong ties to Italy.

“He failed to hand to court his Italian passport, claiming that he had lost it. More importantly, he failed to disclose that between 11 December 2018 and 19 January 2019, before and while appearing before the Zondo Commission of Enquiry into State Capture, he transferred R11.98m and his wife transferred R11.99m to off-shore accounts,” said Twala.

She said Italian authorities had confirmed that the Agrizzi opened bank accounts in Italy into which the funds liquidated in South Africa were transferred.

“On 5 March 2019, Agrizzi bought real estate/property in Castel Del Piano in Italy for €880 000.00 (about R17m) as well as a luxury vehicle.

“A bank account in the name of Agrizzi’s wife has a balance of €714 419.50 (about R13m). The Asset Forfeiture Unit are taking steps to seize the Italian assets.

“The ID has worked closely with its partners, SARS, the SARB) Surveillance Division (FinServ) and the Hawks on the matter,” said Twala.

The matter was postponed to December 3, 2020.


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