Judgment in multi-million rand abalone case postponed to next year


PORT ELIZABETH, November 15 – The Port Elizabeth High Court has postponed judgment to next year in the trial of a suspected kingpin of a multimillion-rand abalone enterprise.

Judge Mandela Makaula was not ready to hand down judgment on Thursday in the case against Julian Brown, 32, a high school drop out, who faces a string of charges which include racketeering between January 2015 and April 2016.

Brown is accused of heading the enterprise alongside Eugene “Boesman” Victor and Brandon Turner, allegedly his right-hand men.

It is expected that lawyers for Brown will bring an application in court on Friday for his bail of R800 000 to be reduced. In addition, Victor is expected to bring a fresh bail application.

According to the indictment, Brown faces an additional charge of money laundering in relation to the purchase of a luxury vehicle. The prosecution alleges that during September 2015, Brown visited Dada’s Motorland, a secondhand car dealer near Fourways, Gauteng, and expressed interest in a white Ferrari California valued at almost R1.9 million.

Brown allegedly approached Martin Kriel, asked him to buy the Ferrari, finance it and register it in his name in lieu of a payment of R500 000 in cash. Brown agreed to pay the monthly instalments in cash to Kriel.

He then gave Kriel the amount of R502 000 in cash in return for the transaction.

In October 2015, Kriel bought and financed the Ferrari California, and the vehicle was registered in his name. The luxury vehicle was delivered to Kriel’s residence, and Brown collected it at a later stage. The state believes the R502 000 was the proceeds of unlawful perlemoen activities.

Other men listed in the indictment are associates who allegedly helped Brown build up his multimillion-rand perlemoen enterprise. They have since testified as section 204 witnesses.

In a detailed indictment, the prosecution sets out the nature of the business, which allegedly involved the packing, drying, salting, freezing and processing of abalone for sale outside South Africa.

The indictment states these alleged operations took place across Nelson Mandela Bay involving a number of role players. Operations ran from namely, Forest Hill, Algoa Park, Westering, Sherwood, Kamma Ridge and North End.

The state further alleges that in May 2015 Turner operated an illegal abalone processing establishment from his home in Westering, where 7570 units of abalone weighing over a ton were later discovered.

Brown earlier claimed that he made his money from scrap metal and the sale of second-hand cars before registering his construction business, J&B Construction.

The case was postponed to February 5 for judgment.

-African News Agency (ANA)