US authorities have implicated Cape Town multimillionaire Walter Hennig, an associate of politician-businessman Tokyo Sexwale, in bribing officials of three African countries for mining rights – including, apparently, the president of Guinea.
Hennig’s Palladino Holdings entered a joint venture named Africa Management with US hedge fund Och-Ziff Capital Management Group and Sexwale’s Mvelaphanda Holdings in 2008 to invest in natural resources.
Och-Ziff announced in 2014 that US authorities were investigating it for bribery in Africa. Earlier this month it said it had put aside $414-million (about R5.6-billion) for a potential settlement.
In the first overt sign that the probe encompasses the activities of Och-Ziff’s South African partners, US authorities on Tuesday arrested Samuel Mebiame, the son of a former Gabonese prime minister.
Mebiame had allegedly worked as a fixer for Palladino, Africa Management and a mining company in which they were invested.
The criminal complaint against Mebiame, filed in New York, alleges Mebiame “routinely [paid] bribes to foreign government officials” to get mineral rights for the companies. It does not identify Hennig by name, but refers to “Co-conspirator #1”, to whom it alleges Mebiame reported directly.
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