Fronts, Fakes and Façades- The evidence
Source material and infographics for investigative report- Fronts, Fakes and Façades- How South African and Mauritian enablers helped move millions from Zimbabwe to Britain
06 July 2023
This report is the product of a collaborative investigation by The Sentry and Open Secrets. The report examines how a politically-connected oil tycoon in Zimbabwe moved suspect funds from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to the City of London using front companies, fake invoices, and offshore financial façades.
Fronts, Fakes and Façades is Open Secrets’ first investigation into allegations of state capture beyond South Africa. But integral to this story of alleged cronyism in Zimbabwe, are various professionals and companies who facilitated the transactions. The deal examined in the report required the assistance of South African company directors and lawyers, a Mauritian management company agent, a Cayman Islands investment fund, banks in numerous jurisdictions, and the company administrators in the United Kingdom.
- 26 July 2019 – Sotic pays £2.3 million deposit to Shoosmiths’ client account, the law firm acting on behalf of Duff & Phelps.
- 1 October 2019 – Sotic pays £12 million to Shoosmiths’ client account.
- 21 October 2019 – Kudakwashe Tagwirei’s $8.5 million payment to Almas Global Opportunity
- 23 October 2019 – $8.425 million payment from Almas to Sotic.
- 23 October 2019 – Almas requests that Sotic repay some of the accidental overpayment of $8.425 million, which should have been $8.245 million.
- 24 October 2019 – Sotic pays £8.25 million to Shoosmiths’ client account, the law firm representing Duff & Phelps.
- 25 October 2019 – Sotic pays £450,000 to Shoosmiths.
- 2019 – Summary of inward payments to Sotic, including $10.5 million from Rimosa.
- 31 May 2019 – Email from Kudakwashe Tagwirei to Sotic executives stating that he is putting money into Sotic to purchase Bindura Nickel Corporation (BNC) and appointing directors to Sotic.
- 26 July 2019 – Sotic International resolution to lend money to Landela Investments to pay the deposit for Bindura Nickel and Freda Rebecca Gold Mine.
- 27 August 2019 – Email between Sotic executives discussing creating an apparently fake invoice between Sotic International and a trading partner, Rimosa Trading.
- 2019 – Share Purchase Agreement between Landela Investments and ASA Resource Group.
- 20 January 2020 – Almas Global Opportunity Fund exercises their right to convert their convertible debentures into 65% of Sotic’s shares, and the remaining 35% is transferred to Pfimbi Ltd (Mauritius).
Duff and Phelps
- July 2019 – Internal Sotic emails discussing whether Duff & Phelps is aware of a connection to Sakunda.
- July 2019 – Internal Sotic emails discussing how to respond to Duff & Phelps’ KYC questions.
- 13 August 2019 – Duff & Phelps mentions a possible link between Sotic and Sakunda group in an email exchange.
- 20 September 2019 – Duff & Phelps are warned of a connection between Sakunda and Sotic.
- 30 September 2019 – Email from Tagwirei to Capital Horizons CEO Shaan Kundomal regarding the ASA transaction.
- 30 September 2019 – Email exchange between Tagwirei, Sotic director, and Capital Horizons about the freezing of the bank accounts for Landela Investments and trading partners Billheight Investments and Rimosa Trading.
- 1 October 2019 – Letter from Norman Chimuka, who was also Tagwirei’s lawyer, stating that Rimosa Trading’s account is not frozen.
- 1 October 2019 – Letter from Norman Chimuka stating that Landela Investment’s account is not frozen.
- 13 October 2019 – Capital Horizons CEO Shaan Kundomal seeking approval from Christopher Fourie, a Sotic director and later whistleblower, and Kudakwashe Tagwirei regarding Almas Global Opportunity Fund buying Sotic’s convertible debentures
- 28 October 2019 – Capital Horizons CEO Shaan Kundomal stating to Christopher Fourie that Kudakwashe Tagwirei routed some of the funding for the ASA Resources transaction into Sotic via Kundomal’s Seychelle’s company, Kubera Investments.
- 28 October 2019 – Capital Horizons invoice for work on ASA transaction.
- 10 October 2019 – Email from Capital Horizons CEO Shaan Kundomal to Tagwirei passing along, inter alia, the proposed Almas Global Opportunity Fund “investment mechanism” and a proposal to improve Tagwirei’s reputation following the publication of “adverse media.”
- 2 October 2019 – The reputation management proposal (drawn up by a third party) forwarded by Capital Horizons, proposing to “’bury’ as much negative information as possible.”
- no date – Diagram describing how the proposed Almas Global Opportunity Fund “investment mechanism” between “KT,” Almas, and Sotic would work, enabling them to carry out the transaction with ASA Resources.
- 10 October 2019 – Diagram describing how the proposed Almas Global Opportunity Fund “investment mechanism” between “Investor,” Almas, and Sotic would work, enabling them to carry out the transaction with ASA Resources.
- 5 December 2019 –WhatsApp Message from Kundomal to Fourie about Kundomal’s consultation with Tagwirei over the timing of any changes to Sotic’s shareholding structure and whether Duff & Phelps would have to redo their know your customer (KYC) exercise.
- 31 December 2019 –WhatsApp Message from Kundomal requesting that Fourie confirm with Tagwirei whether Fourie can transfer $1,000 out of Sotic.
Almas Global Opportunity Fund
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