IN a bizarre twist to our conman story, a man claiming to be the elusive shyster has come forward.
The man, claiming to be Joseph Agnes Safra, is suing Sunday World for R1-million through JK Malatji Attorneys.
Sunday World has recently published stories of an alleged conman named Dr Joseph â€œJoeâ€ Safra, whose victims claimed he swindled them out of thousands of rands.
The attorneys threatened to seek a court interdict this week to prevent Sunday World from publishing further fraud allegations against their client.
But more skeletons tumbled out of Safraâ€™s closet.
Safra, who allegedly conned top executives and celebrities, claims to be the son of Brazilian banking billionaire Joseph Safra, according to eight independent sources who had direct contact with him.
It emerged this week that Keith Lindsay, the owner of production company Tartan Sound & Video Productions, which shot a music video last year with musician Vusi Nova at Safraâ€™s request, is yet to be paid over R150000.
Lindsay is believed to be taking legal action against Safra, who allegedly owes him money for the music video production, and used his company to lease a fleet of luxury vehicles from Avis that formed part of Safraâ€™s alleged employment scam.
Sunday World has seen a letter of demand from the lawyers for about R123 000 and the return of two leased Range Rovers (allegedly used by Safra and Nova) from Lindsay.
â€œThe writer attended upon our clientâ€™s office. for a meeting which was convened between our client and the representatives of the above-mentioned entities as well as the representatives of the Agnes-Marie Group.
â€œSadly your clients failed to attend the meeting,â€ the letter of demand, dated August 16 2013, reads.
The Agnes-Marie Group is said to be one of Safraâ€™s companies.
Lindsay refused to comment, saying he was dealing with the matter through his lawyers.
It has emerged that, as with several other companies, Safra lured Lindsay and others into believing that he would buy a stake in their businesses for ridiculous sums of money.
According to our information, Safra then insisted that money be paid up front to secure loans running into millions, only for the cash to disappear.
Sources who apparently fell for the trap said they were attracted by Safraâ€™s tale that his family in Brazil had earmarked billions of rands that would be used for social upliftment projects in South Africa.
It is believed that NGOs and organisations that were promised millions of rands in funding from Safra have not received the money. Among them is Citizens4Marikana, a fund set up by media and communication strategist Kay Sexwale to assist the families of miners who were shot dead by the police in August 2012. It was to receive R10-million.
Those who have had dealings with Safra allege that he and Nova were romantically involved.
This is despite Safraâ€™s denial that he had any connection to Nova, apart from a BEE transaction that lasted just 10 days.
But Nova exposed this as a lie last week. He said Safra â€œassisted me from time to time in my music careerâ€.
Nova is also registered as a shareholder in Safraâ€™s companies.
When asked to comment, Safra said:
â€œIf Keith feels like discussing his failed bid with the media (sic), itâ€™s his choice. I will engage him via our attorneys in South Africa.
â€œAs for my personal life regarding my sexuality, this is not up for discussion.
â€œI feel your plot with your sources is to try and ruin someoneâ€™s career by claiming they are gay.
â€œThis is disgusting and, as you are aware, my legal team here and in South Africa are busy serving all your sources and you with summonses.â€
JK Malatji Attorneysâ€™ Phuti Phaka did not respond to questions of how Safra had determined which sources had approached Sunday World with evidence that they had been scammed.
Sunday World has established that three cases of fraud have been registered with the police against Safra . One of them is by a businessman who was allegedly swindled out of about R300 000. â€“ Sunday World