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Cobus Kellermann sues Alec Hogg for R5 million

Claiming damages for defamation.

Cobus Kellermann has instituted legal action against BizNews editor Alec Hogg to claim damages for defamation. Kellermann, who Hogg alleges is a ‘mastermind’ behind a massive fraudulent enterprise, is claiming R5 million for injury to “his name, reputation and standing”.

A sheriff of the Cape Town High Court served the summons on Hogg on Wednesday.

In a series of more than 20 articles, BizNews has claimed that Kellermann, together with his business partner David Cosgrove, had defrauded investors of billions of rands through what it called ‘the Belvedere Group’.

BizNews first carried the allegations on March 23 2015, when it ran a story under the headline: “Capetonian Kellermann accused as kingpin of R200bn Belvedere Ponzi”. The article stated that “Cobus Kellermann, a Stellenbosch University graduate now in his late 30s who runs Cape-based money manager Clarus Capital, has been fingered as a mastermind behind a massive global Ponzi scheme run out of Mauritius”.

This and subsequent articles stated that Kellermann and Cosgrove were behind a multi-billion dollar fraud through a company called Belvedere Management, and others linked to it. BizNews also carried a number of interviews with the editor of OffshoreAlert, David Marchant, who had been the first to make the allegations. In these articles Marchant called Kellermann a “fraudster”, Belvedere a “scam” and said that investors had been “fleeced”.

In September last year, however, the Guernsey Financial Services Commission announced that it had closed its investigation into the ‘Belvedere’ matter and that it would be taking no action against either Kellermann or Cosgrove. This was an effective acknowledgement that, despite a lengthy and thorough investigation, it had found no wrongdoing.

More recently, the CFA Institute in the US also ended its investigation into Kellermann without taking any action. The institute’s president and CEO, Paul Smith, told Moneyweb that “we have no evidence to pursue a case”.

Kellermann is now claiming that BizNews’ characterisation of him as someone who had perpetrated fraud and illegally appropriated funds from investors is both wrongful and defamatory. As a result, he argues in court papers, his personal and professional reputation is unlikely to ever be recovered.

“I have spoken with Mr Hogg,” Kellermann told Moneyweb. “He now believes the truth (judging by his response to me). He was made aware of the truth early in 2015. He chose not to report on it then. He still hasn’t reported on it. So, the only way for the truth to come out is to level the playing field, which would be in a South African court, and not by him, or anybody else for that matter, hiding in different jurisdictions and writing on their blogs.”

He added that he is considering legal action against “each and every media outlet that was told the truth”, but chose to report otherwise.

Hogg did not respond to a request from Moneyweb for comment.

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Make it 50 million

This is not the USA. Successful defamation suits even approaching R1m are almost unheard of here.

When Biznews carried the very first article, I posted a comment to the effect that the article was libelous and that I hoped Biznews had appropriate insurance in place. Mr Hogg never published my comment.

Note that Marchant is the real source of the libel – but (by his own account, in comments made here on MW) – he hides behind some law that apparently prevents anybody who is not resident in the US from bringing a suit for defamation there. So, in effect, Marchant can write whatever sh!t he wants and there are no consequences whatsoever for him in law, in Trumpland. Whattaman.

Alec also censored some of my posts in a very arbitrary manner

I’m no fan of mr hogg – if only because he decided to transport himself and his family to the uk – but makes money out of expats (mainly in uk) who long for “home”. but it does seems a bit unfair for someone to take him to court for what everyone thought at the time. also R5million seems ridiculously low for the alleged charge. something not right – crowd funding here we come

“Everyone”? There were definitely many, but only because of Alec Hogg’s poor journalistic standards of evidence. Shocking that he never closed down the story after his massive initial onslaught. No ethics whatsoever.

I wonder is Afriforum will assist him with his legal battle…

Well, methinks they with ”Gerry” in their ranks should be very quiet- when it comes to ”plea bargains”for JZ 783. It was Gerry who (according to Barry Sergeant’s book- The Kebble Collusion)- that gave a convicted drug lord like Glenn Agliotti – a plea bargain it he could help him put an old man with one of his foot in the grave, Jackie Selebi away..Gerry got the attention he thrives on, methinks!

Justice must be done and I hope that Mr Kellerman gets justice. What is sad though is that for years Alec Hogg hosted the best ever financial radio show in this country. He always managed to get high profile guests e.g. Johan Rupert because he was well prepared and thoroughly informed. Unlike current shows on the radio like Classic Business with Lindsay (shoot from the hip) Williams, Liston (sounds a 123 years old) Meintjes, Andries (just plain boring) van Zyl on RSG Geldsake.

Bruce Whitfield is better than Alec “fireside chat” Hogg ever was.

One has to wonder where A Hogg went wrong.

He was in the early ’90s imho a very good financial journalist but soon after starting Moneyweb seemed to go all left wing, liberal, bleeding heart.

Such a pity as this site could have been a blockbuster, in SA at least.

Here’s what Paul H Smith, CEO & President of CFA Institute had to say about the last MW article which seemingly cleared Kellermann –

“The news article is a mischaracterization of the closing letter that was sent to Mr. Kellerman. Our letter does not state that CFA Institute cleared Mr. Kellerman. Our letter states that we are closing the case with no sanction and have the right to reopen it if additional information is presented. Mr. Kellerman is not currently an active member of CFA Institute and does not have the right to use the CFA designation. He may reactivate his membership at any time but any reactivation is subject to an approval process that may take his past conduct into consideration.”

Belvedere has been exposed in numerous jurisdictions and action taken against them. People need to revisit Kellermann’s involvement in the Strategic Growth Fund – which was suspended 5 years ago and remains suspended.

We’re talking about whether there was a R200 BILLION Ponzi scheme… No one has ever admitted losing money – by this time, based on any other failed investment scheme, we’d have had legions of widows and orphans giving their stories.

Green Jacket – you are as bad as Alec.

Victims are outside of SA, that’s why there’s no reporting on them here. I’ve never said anything about a R200bn Ponzi Scheme, but the management/administration of numerous funds was certainly outside of the law. You don’t need to look much further than the Kellermann/Cosgrove/Belvedere ties to the deVere Group to see what kinds of characters we’re talking about here.

Just find me TWO people who lost money in this Belvedere scheme. I can only – literally – find ONE.

I would agree that the connection with deVere is concerning, and perhaps investors have paid high and hidden commissions, but have they lost their shirts..?

There is only one known “victim” – Strategic Growth Fund. All of the individual “victims” Marchant quoted were investors in products that had exposure to SGF.

deVere claimed that they were merely shareholders in SGF which was a Belvedere fund and that they lost money as a result of fraud within the management of SGF. It turns out that SGF was in fact managed by deVere and only deVere clients could invest in it. deVere raked in millions of Dollars in management fees for managing SGF. In other words, deVere was accusing itself of fraud.

Marchant and Hogg must have seen the documents published on the Internet proving that SGF was deVere’s own fund. Responsible publications raised questions. Hogg and Marchant persisted to push their narrative and accused publications who were doing the right thing of poor journalism. A public interest defence must fail in this case because the facts suggest that they were not just reporting facts but creating fake news. It will be important for the South African courts to set a precedent on this before South Africa becomes like the US.

Kellermann and Cosgrove were integral parts of the deVere network for years, you’re making a mistake by separating the parties. Until things started going wrong with SGF, mainly while Kellermann was fund manager, they were all involved in deception, miss-selling, etc. When things started surfacing about this they all turned on each other – including the ex-deVere SA senior management, who started Carrick Wealth.

The Mauritian FSC lists the enforcement actions taken against Belvedere-linked entities, they’re easy to source online. That’s just one jurisdiction!

Methinks, who cares about what the ”Copy and Paste” CFA Institution and what its President has to say?

Some of the worst traders that I worked with in the FX Treasury markets for many moons, all had CFA’s – they are not Gods!

Greenjacket, you had lots of things to say about my ”where is the smoking gun” comments and views on this web over time….time to eat humble pie, methinks?

Poor reflection on Moneyweb that they allow your moronic comments to be posted. Contact the FSB and ask them about reports they were given on these people in early 2010, and many times since. Their incompetence and inaction isn’t my fault.

Alpine – if you don’t believe the CFA statement then contact Paul Smith directly. He’ll confirm the exact words I’m sure.

GreenJacket aka Brent, your comments are as Ill informed as the original article. Plus you are ex Devere and Nigel Green employee. Thanks for your “non biased” opinion.

Green Jacket, where did you get that CFA statement from? Do you have any evidence that it isn’t fake news?

The CFA statement makes no sense. According to the logic applied, every single CFA member is as guilty as Mr Kellermann. There CFA says there is no open case against him and they have no evidence against him. Just like any other member, the CFA Institute can open a case if evidence comes to light.

If that is indeed a genuine statement by the CFA, it opens the CFA to being sued. An organisation with pseudo regulatory powers has to apply ordinary principles of justice like innocent until proven guilty and the right to a fair hearing. If they put out statements that imply guilt when they have no proof, they too are potentially guilty of libel.

Alpine, i think you have summarised the situation quite well with your comment on SGF. I have a few ex-UK clients who had funds with DeVere and were victims of the fund – so yes, there are actual victims out there. I was always amazed that ALex did not investigate DeVere, but then i see their biggest sponsor is Carrick Wealth – basically all the rats who jumped ship.

Would love to see the truth finally come out and the DeVere guys held accountable.

Brett, why don’t you just write under your own name? Why don’t you admit to the world that you worked for deVere? Why do you keep communicating with David Marchant? Why don’t you tell the truth? Why do you defend in indefensible? Here’s to you Mr Robinson.

Methinks that this action could not have come at a more appropriate time as Offshore Alert’s David Marchant, tried to make a ‘’farce’’ of the South Africa’s financial regulatory market (besides nothing – what control does the FSB etc have on money once it left our shores, anyway?)
I also don’t think that this summons could have come at a more appropriate time in our market.
Alec Hogg’s – ‘’Back to my Roots investigation’’ in my view never produced the ‘’smoking gun’’
Marchant also slated me on this web and called even said that we are living in ‘’LaLa Land’’ down here!
Alec Hogg, methinks you allowed yourself to be influenced and your interaction with Kellerman’s lawyers, Werksmans, right at the start of this circus, convinced me that you and Marchant had your ‘’knickers in a knot’’
This story reminds me of the Viceroy/Benguela stream – Capitec Debacle of last week (isn’t it Patrick?)

Is it just me, or is Mr Marchant pretty quiet all of a sudden? La la land awaits your next rant dear sir…

p.s. Hats off to Moneyweb, always sticking to the facts and allowing the readers to make up their own conclusions.

Our mate DavidMOA? He probably has fingers in both ears and is going “lalala I can’t hear you!”

Greenjacket – the moron comment is rich coming from you…methinks!

I never liked Mcubed in my Fx Treasury days, and I did decline some ”mystical million” deal proposals, as it was (and still is my view) that Excon approval was ”conspicuous by its absence”, at the time but – not via Kellermann at all…
but….that was funds coming in etc…..which had to be subject to the excon regulations…

All this Ponzi scheme rubbish that was dished up by Alec and company – methinks is without merit!

Who am I?

Hint, I am not Trump.

“I knew all along it was a ponzi. But yes, deVere told me it was a ponzi. But I always knew it was so I tipped off the regulators. Oh yes deVere tipped off the regulators and handed me their work. They also paid me. But I always knew it was a ponzi and I found it. I am very good at what I do. I cannot be sued. The law in the States are written in a way that I can say anything about anyone, I just have to add that it is my opinion. Or deVere’s of course, but I work day and night, I am very good at this. After I broke the story 700 funds suspended in 300 jurisdictions and that proves that I was right. Or was it deVere? It does depend on the day and my mood. They are quite nice people, they are not the story here. Please focus on the story. We have loads of money, why dont they sue us? Oh and before you forget, the law here is very good, the best, its the absolute best. It does not allow me to be sued. But why dont they sue us? Clearly because I am right. But yes, the law is the best. And Patrick is a loser. The worst. The absolute worst. They keep deleting my comments and I keep rewriting them. They are the worst. But the law here is the best.”

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