South African Cobus Kellermann has instituted legal action against BizNews editor Alec Hogg to claim damages for defamation following fraud allegations by Hogg, said 2oceansvibe.com.
Kellermann, who Hogg alleges is a ‘mastermind’ behind a massive fraudulent enterprise, is claiming R5 million (Rand 5 million) for injury to “his name, reputation and standing”. Papers were served to Hogg on Wednesday.
BizNews claimed that Kellermann, along with his business partner David Cosgrove, defrauded investors of billions of rands through what it called ‘the Belvedere Group’,
The allegations include accusations that kellermann was the kingpin of a 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”.
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”.
Since the allegations, however, the Guernsey Financial Services Commission and the CFA Institute in the US have announced that they have both closed their investigations into the matter.
Kellermann claims that “BizNews’ characterisation of him as someone who had perpetrated fraud and illegally appropriated funds from investors is both wrongful and defamatory”.
The accusations were about a Global Mutual Fund and that Belvedere had access to such funds.
“The Global Mutual Fund was in fact a legitimate investment fund platform, which meant that ‘Belvedere’ in fact had no access to the assets in the funds, which were held by independent custodians and was not involved in any decisions in relation to the assets, which were managed by the independent managers,” another news report said.
Kellermann’s major operation is said to be in Mauritius.
In an official submission to the Mauritian Financial Services Commission, Kellerman is listed as the 50% owner of RDL Management. His Irish business partner David Cosgrove owns the other half.
RDL is a $500m investment management and advice arm of Belvedere Management Limited. Cosgrove is described as the director of the firm and Kellermann as the portfolio manager of its funds, Hogg wrote.