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Compiled by Gareth Cotterell

Digital Editor

Court rules man can’t get R610,000 back after he gave it to girlfriend to hide from his wife

The judge said he had doubts about the husband’s credibility and reliability.

The South Gauteng High Court on Friday ruled that a man should not get the R610,000 back after he gave it to his girlfriend in an attempt to hide the money from his wife, who he was considering divorcing.

The husband, named as HW, was having an affair with the woman, named as RS, for two years when he withdrew the money in 2017.

He withdrew R850,000 in three transactions to prevent his wife from accessing the money if he followed through with the divorce proceedings. They were married in community of property.

Claim that cash was a loan

RS kept the cash in her bedroom, before HW gave her R610,000 to keep. However, when the relationship ended, HW claimed the money given to her was a loan and asked for it to be paid back.

HW had also decided not to divorce his wife.

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In court, RS said the money was given to her to help her wind up her struggling business. She also said the money was given to her as a show of faith that HW would leave his wife.

Though HW said he intended to leave his wife at the time, he claimed he had not made up his mind on whether he should pursue a long-term relationship with RS yet. He said he wanted to “wait and see”.

Doubts about husband’s credibility

Judge Stuart David James Wilson said the husband had not kept any paperwork to prove the money was given as a loan.

“There are no contemporaneous letters or emails that refer to the existence of a loan. There were no witnesses to the transaction,” said Judge Wilson.

The judge also had “serious doubts” about HW’s credibility and reliability.

“Underpinning his entire case was an act of dishonesty: a scheme to spirit money away from his wife. I was not convinced that this was all there was to it,” he said. 

“All he needed to do to achieve that result was move the money to a secret account, or into an undisclosed investment. That would have been no less dishonest than what he actually did.

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“What he actually did, though, implied a motive beyond merely depriving his wife of the money. He gave it to RS, who, if nothing had been said, would plainly have formed the reasonable impression that it was meant to free her from her business so that they could start a new life together after HW’s divorce.”

The money was also deposited into RS’s business account, rather than her personal bank account.

Judge Wilson concluded that neither HW or RS had proved their case. This led to him dismissing HW’s case. 

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