Former hedge fund boss dies in shooting incident
27 July 2012 | JULIUS COBBETT
The alleged shooter was his former business partner, Herman Pretorius.
Pretorius allegedly shot Williams dead, then turned the gun on himself. eNews Channel journalist Lester Kiewit reported on Twitter that the suspect (Pretorius) had a gunshot wound to the head and was taken to hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.
Pretorius used to be involved with a hedge fund called the Abante Statistical Arbitrage.
At the time of his death he ran an unregulated investment scheme called the Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF), which many investors believed to be a hedge fund.
Pretorius had been due to attend a meeting of investors in Moorreesburg on the evening of his death. Investors were informed that the event had been cancelled because Pretorius was in a meeting with Julian Williams.
Earlier this month CitiBusiness reported that Pretorius was involved in a war of words with Williams over an unlisted company called SA Superalloys.
Williams was a director of SA Superalloys. Pretorius was not.
Pretorius had sold preference shares in SA Superalloys to about 500 private investors.
SA Superalloys stopped paying dividends this year.
Pretorius accused Williams of failing to answer his questions about how investors’ money had been spent.
He suggested that Williams may have used some of the money to fund Basileus Capital.
Williams responded that Pretorius had put pressure on him to pay dividends when the company was not in a position to do so.
He also said that Pretorius was trying to divert attention from his unregulated investment scheme, the Relative Value Arbitrage Fund.
Basileus Capital has about 50 employees.
It is responsible for sourcing investments for JSE-listed preference share BK One. One of BK One’s investments is Avalloy, a subsidiary company of SA Superalloys.
Pretorius had a very loyal following among wealthy investors in small Western Cape towns such as Moorreesburg, Porterville, Hopefield, Malmesbury, Durbanville and Riversdale.
His Relative Value Arbitrage Fund had reported excellent returns to investors but there is no known way of verifying if these returns are genuine.
Pretorius was not registered with the FSB and the fund had no third party administrator.
Yesterday morning a communication was distributed to investors by e-mail. The author is unknown; the letter has no letterhead or signature.
The letter details three investments, SA Superalloys, the RVAF and Asarja (Pty) Ltd.
Of these, only the first two were previously known to CitiBusiness. The letter states that directors of Asarja will continue to manage the affairs of this entity and will “strategise with the current opportunities available”.
A company search for Asarja reveals three current directors: Herman Pretorius, David Lombard and Siegmund Thetard.
The auditors are Immelman Ferreira Incorporated.
Investors were told that the trustees of the fund (who remain unidentified) will provide feedback to investors and “where necessary appoint the appropriate experts in order to do the necessary due diligence”.
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