A large shipment of 50 ‘Super Puma’ helicopter ‘kits’, sent to South Africa from French arms company Aerospatiale via Portugal, was typical of apartheid-era covert sanctions-busting deals. Now that news has broken that a Portuguese arms trader wants his R8bn commission for the deal, isn’t it about time to free the apartheid archive, open the window into a sordid and criminal past and help dismantle the shadowy networks that facilitate international economic crimes?
Last week news broke that a Portuguese arms trader who helped the apartheid regime violate United Nations weapons sanctions has approached South Africa’s courts as part of his strategy to claim commission on the deal. Jorge Pinhol wants a staggering R8-billion ($600-million) from state-owned arms company Armscor. He claims this is the value of the 10% commission that Armscor allegedly failed to pay him for facilitating a covert deal to procure helicopters for the South African Air Force in the late 1980s.
The application in the Pretoria High Court by Pinhol’s company Beverly Securities Limited (BSL) seeks to compel the Auditor-General to disclose apartheid-era records that Pinhol’s international lawyers allege provide evidence of Armscor’s agreement to pay Pinhol for the illicit deal.
It is just the latest in a range of tactics used by Pinhol’s expensive legal team, funded by billionaire Canadian John Risley.