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Another blow for Georgiou

SCA dismisses an appeal against a high court decision ordering him to honour an HS buyback agreement.

Property magnate Nic Georgiou may face claims of more than R3 billion of investors of two failed Highveld Syndication schemes, after another defeat in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).

On Friday the SCA dismissed Georgiou’s appeal against a previous High Court Judgement which found he must honour the buyback agreement he signed with an HS 22 investor. Acting Judge Moroa Tsoka also confirmed that the buyback agreements were not affected when the HS companies were put into business rescue.

Read: Orthotouch BRP aims to negotiate a ‘concrete’ offer for investors

Georgiou puts Orthotouch and Zephan into business rescue

This paves the way for thousands of HS 21 and HS 22 investors who signed similar agreements to institute claims against Georgiou. He may, therefore, be liable to repay the R1.3 billion to HS 21 and R1.8 billion to HS 22 investors. He will also be liable for interest payments.

Background

The case involves Suraiya Noormahomed, who invested R3 million in HS 22 in 2009 and received shares in the company. The agreement she signed with Georgiou contained a clause through which Georgiou agreed to buy back the shares in 2014 for double the amount she initially invested. 

When Georgiou failed to pay the R6 million in 2014, Noormahomed approached the court to force him to do so. The court granted a default judgement against Georgiou and ordered him to pay the R6 million as well as 15.5% interest per annum from August 2014.

Bizarrely, Georgiou was not aware of Noormahomed’s initial application and did not oppose it. He then brought an application to have the default judgement rescinded. He argued in this application that the business rescue process and Section 155 Scheme of Arrangement replaced the original HS investment agreements, including the buyback agreement he signed with Noormahomed. 

Read:

The peculiar case of the Picvest billions (Part 1) (Background)

The peculiar case of the Picvest billions (Part 2) (Background)

The peculiar case of the Picvest billions (Part 3) (Overvaluation of properties)

The peculiar case of the Picvest billions (Part 4) (Property transactions prior to HS companies being put into business rescue)

The peculiar case of the Picvest billions (Part 5) (Disposal of properties contradicts the intent of the business rescue plan)

The peculiar case of the Picvest billions: Part 6

The High Court disagreed and dismissed his rescission application with costs.

However, Georgiou approached the SCA and was granted leave to appeal. It was this appeal that was dismissed by the SCA with costs.

In response, Adv Louis Bolt who represented Noormahomed said the SCA “correctly found that the terms of the scheme of arrangement did not affect the validity or the enforceability of the buyback agreements pertaining to investment in HS22 (and HS21) and reconfirmed the earlier decision in the De Lange matter.

Georgiou, therefore, has no defence against claims of investors based on the buyback agreements and is consequently exposed to claims in excess of R1.4 billion in respect of HS21 and R1.7 billion in respect of HS22 (excluding interest from 2014).

Bolt also represents other investors with a collective claim of more than R1 billion against Georgiou.

The judgment stated that the litigation was not affected by Georgiou’s decision to put Orthotouch and Zephan into business rescue. This means Noormahomed will be able to seek payment from the N Georgiou Trust, Zephan and Georgiou personally.

Nic Georgiou was asked to comment on the judgement, but he failed to respond by the time of publication. If he responds, his response will be included in the article.

The SCA also approved a warrant of execution against Georgiou for R448 000 of unpaid legal bills this week. The case relates to Georgiou’s efforts to scuttle the class action application by the Highveld Syndication Action Group (HSAG). He appealed against two scathing judgments in the Pretoria and Johannesburg high courts that found he acted unethically and abused the legal system in an effort to thwart the class action application.

He was granted leave to appeal against these judgments, but withdrew his appeal and tendered punitive costs to the HSAG after several of the full bench of judges severely criticised his conduct.

It appears that he did not pay the punitive costs he tendered to the HSAG.

HSAG response

Jacques Theron of Theron & Partners said the HSAG is pleased with the judgment. “It brings an end to the long runaround that Georgiou gave everyone. It also endorses thousands of our members’ entitlement in similar cases to the repayment of double their initial investment. This is exactly what we’ve been fighting for and is the end of the road for Georgiou and his associates.”

He said the HSAG “is very confident that the certification of the class is imminent and that recoupment of the investors’ claims through the class action a reality.”

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The headline of the year!

ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!!!!!

.. it has been a long and difficult road travelled for the majority of Investors since 2011 when this Saga started.

Every year since then has been fraught with one set back after another. (including withheld interest payments!)

The wheel is turning … and finally picking up momentum now!

Thank you very much Ryk!!

Really? Headline of the year?
I suggest we all enjoy the headline because we’re not getting any of our investments back.
No point making Georgiou the villain, blame unscrupulous brokers and our own stupidity and greed. I’ve come to terms with my loss, if it looks too good to be true it is! Only our saviour Jim Rock! Not Ryk, not Bolt can save us.

Bwaaa haaaa haaa!!

Bobrofwillfall, You cannot be serious???

What do Brokers have to with that fact that Properties were never transfered over to the Investors in the first place??

Get your facts straight.

You have a right to your opinion and great for you that you have come to terms with your loss!

I still want to see justice done for the fraudulent deeds!

Brobrofwillfall, who are you? Why don’t you use your own name when you make statements like this. If you want to write off your investment then that is your problem. Don’t you be rude to Adv Bolt, Ryk or Jacques Theron. Adv Bolt and Jacques Theron are fighting for us the investors and now after five years of Nic Georgiou abusing the court system because he knew this was a first Class Action case for South Africa and he got the benefit of the doubt all the time. Well my dear friend there were 5 judges on the bench and they knew about all his tricks and scamming therefore HE WAS STOPPED by these judges. Justice for all of us. Also leave Ryk alone he is the only JOURNALIST in SOUTH AFRICA that took it upon himself to investigate and put the facts on the table.

Phew. Investors bought unencumbered 80 properties for R4.6bn cash from Georgiou. He and Hans Klopper sold them all. What happened to proceeds?
Do you think Georgiou is the victim?

VIVA!! NIC GEIRGIOU be aware we are on your heels. Next you will hear us knocking on your door and then we will enter your domain cashing in our investments on which you have lived like a king. Thank you to ADV Bolt for paving the way in this matter. Thank you my fellow investors in the HSAG for fighting as a group and believing in our lawyer Jacques Theron and his team. You are THE BEST!! Thank you Ryk for keeping us always in the loop. BE AWARE NIC GEIRGIOU!!

JUSTICE WILL PREVAIL like said many times before The road to righteousness was long but the outcome will be relentless The judges took note and with our fellow members roaming forward with Adv Louis Bolt,Jaques Theron the class action lawyer and the investigating journalist of stature Ryk van Niekerk we will win this war that the enemy brought upon us!!

100 thumbs up for all comments so far. We need a Trump chat here from all 58.5M South Africans of “LOCK [HIM] UP”.

Ryk, thank you for brilliant reporting of the facts. Best, best news ever for us as investors, Adv Bolt and Theron for the Class Action. AT LAST a Judge putting an end to Georgiou. If needs be we’ll take to ConCourt. This extremely bad news for the Law Society of S.A – if Georguou doesn’t step-up and pay, the Law Society will be in the firing line – they’ve sat on the back bench to their own detriment – they should have taken note.

Interest on a judgment debt is simple interest and not compound interest.

On my calculation, 15,5% per annum works out at R2,547-95 per day.

If the default period is from 1 December 2014 to 1 December 2019 then the number of days is 1,826 days.

R2,547-95 x 1,826 days … then the interest Mr Georgiou will owe is R4,650,822-00.

Assuming he can pay then it might not have been such a bad investment after all.

So tell me you people, how has this been good for you? Did you receive some cash- no. Will you receive some cash-no. If all you can do is bleat like sheep on the farm then carry on. Making ugly comments about a person is not Christian like or proper in any religion. Face it we won’t get anything, the money is gone, the companies have no property and no money. Where do you think you will get anything from? No dear friends, our sustenances come from the Lord. Greed is sin!

Bobrofwillfall, I hardly think people are “Making ugly comments”… far from it Dahling!!

And your comment about “not Christian like or proper in any religion” is quite ironic and sanctimonious considering 18 000 odd investors have suffered extreme hardship etc due to the fact that monies that they handed over were transfered into the Properties they bought into …

Is it ‘proper or Christian like’ to take OPM and never return it ?????!!!!!

#GeorgiousWillFall

Correction to my paragraph above:

And your comment about “not Christian like or proper in any religion” is quite ironic and sanctimonious considering 18 000 odd investors have suffered extreme hardship etc due to the fact that monies that they handed over WERE NOT transfered into the Properties they bought into …

“…the money is gone, the companies have no property and no money. Where do you think you will get anything from?”

Bobrofwillfall, Regarding your other statement/question above:

It’s a pity you have fallen for the propaganda that just because there are no buildings left in Orthotouch and a few left in Zephan that we as investors have no claims. Read the Series of articles that Ryk has written regarding the history of the Buildings: The peculiar case of the Picvest billions: Part 1-6.

Buildings have Windeeds, the paper trail is there.

The Georgiou’s are considered to be amongst some of the Richest Families in South Africa.
They #MUSTPAYBACKTHE MONEY!!!!

#GeorgiousWillFall

Seriously Brobofwillfall. Kindly use your own name. You sound just like Elna Visagie. Always covering up for Nic Georgiou! Always asking where will the money come from! If you are indeed Elna then you should know exactly where the money will come from. Eisch!!

Alles veloren! Wholesale theft. when will the perpetrators be brought to book? I tell you when, when each and everyone of us lay a charge of theft and fraud!

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