BMW dealer implicated in R380m fraud claims
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The biodiesel trading company that has allegedly defrauded more than 800 clients out of a suspected R380 million has now been linked to dodgy deals involving BMW dealerships across Gauteng.
Last week, the Saturday Star revealed that a multi-pronged probe by the Hawks, National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and a private investigation firm had exposed the alleged Ponzi scheme at QSG Consult International, and how at least one of its clients had committed suicide in the wake of losing their investments.
Last month, the High Court in Joburg granted a preservation order freezing the company’s Mercantile bank accounts, following complaints from clients that they had not been paid out their monthly returns.
This came after father and son directors of the company, Johan and Riaan Smit, allegedly fled to Dubai in November following the revelation that the Dubai biodiesel oil project had never existed.
However, other complainants in the matter have come forward to explain how QSG had been linked to BMW dealerships, particularly the branch at Melrose Arch, claiming dodgy contracts for “dealership assistance” resulted in extra money being used to invest in QSG.
They have also laid criminal cases against a salesman at the Melrose Arch dealership, Justin Lineveldt.
The complainants were linked to the seemingly dodgy deals through a suspected director at QSG, Danie Delport.
Last week, Delport said he had never been linked to the company “on paper” and that he too was a victim of the company’s fraud and had lost his investments.
However, The Saturday Star has now seen business cards and flyers for the company listing Delport as a marketing director at QSG.
One of the alleged car fraud victims, Shaheeda Moosa, told the Saturday Star she had been told to get in touch with Delport for a good deal on a new car at the Melrose Arch BMW dealership.
In January 2017, Delport linked Moosa with Lineveldt, a salesman at the dealership, who offered her a “cash-back offer” on the vehicle from the BMW factory, and that this money could be used to invest in QSG for a large return on investment. “Justin (Lineveldt) informed me that this offer was only made to selected customers and that was the reason they were not advertising the offer to the general public,” wrote Moosa in her statement submitted to the Hawks.
Moosa claims due process was not followed, and that she was not informed of the finer details of the deal, namely that the investment returns would be used to help pay off the cars she had bought.
When QSG stopped paying out its investors, Moosa was left in massive debt. She has since laid criminal charges against the dealership alongside another former client.
However, when speaking to Delport last week, he said while he had come up with the concept of the BMW deal, it was not exclusive to the Melrose Arch branch, and that he did not think there was anything fraudulent about his conduct.
Lineveldt also defended the contracts when speaking with the Saturday Star, saying they were entirely legitimate, that he had nothing to do with QSG, and that victims of the scheme were simply looking for someone to blame.
However, sources at the Hawks have confirmed the Serious Economic Offences Unit is currently probing QSG and the suspected fraudulent investments lodged at the BMW dealerships.
Meanwhile, the BMW head office said it was aware of the customers who had laid complaints against the dealership at Melrose Arch, but distanced itself from the branch.
“We have been made aware of a limited number of customers who appear to have been personally involved in an allegedly illegal investment with a third party completely unrelated to the BMW Group.
“This investment seems to have been offered in South Africa through a number of industries and channels. Those customers who have brought their investment to our attention all purchased vehicles through an independently owned and operated dealership,” said BMW spokesperson, Alex Parker.
“We do take such allegations made against a dealer of our cars very seriously indeed. We will co-operate with the relevant law enforcement authorities
“BMW South Africa and BMW Financial Services are separate legal entities to the dealership in question and neither BMW South Africa nor BMW AG have shareholding in the dealership. Neither BMW Financial Services nor BMW South Africa were involved in any alleged arrangements between the dealership and its customers, and any allegations made against BMW South Africa or BMW Financial Services are false, and we consider them to be slanderous and defamatory.”
Meanwhile, queries sent to directors of QSG have gone unanswered.