JOHANNESBURG – The ongoing investigation into Classic Financial Services One (Pty) Ltd (Classic) has taken a significant stride forward as South Africa’s Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) announced the safeguarding of approximately R19 million in preserved funds. The operation was executed in collaboration with the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) and the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) of the Office of the National Director of Public Prosecutions.
The FSCA had previously issued a warning to the public in November 2022, urging caution in conducting any financial services related business with Classic and its director, Mr. Jacobus Stephanus Geldenhuis. In response to this concern, the matter was reported to the AFU, which successfully secured two preservation orders for funds deposited into Classic’s bank accounts.
In a press release dated 10 May 2023, the FSCA detailed the next steps in this unfolding financial drama. The AFU intends to apply for final forfeiture orders regarding the preserved funds and appoint a curator bonis who will oversee the distribution of these funds.
Investors who believe they have suffered a loss due to their dealings with Classic are invited to lodge a claim against the preserved funds. This will require lodging a formal application with the High Court, Gauteng Division Johannesburg. The process aims to exclude certain funds from the final forfeiture orders as prescribed by the Prevention of Organised Crime Act 121 of 1998 and the relevant Rules of Court.
The FSCA emphasized that only claims from investors who bring an application as described will be considered by the curator bonis. The authority strongly discouraged investors from contacting the curator bonis directly, warning that it may impede the proceedings.
Applications for exclusion by the investors should be filed no later than 45 days after the publication of the Forfeiture Order in the Government Gazette. However, investors are encouraged to file their exclusion applications as soon as possible and need not wait for the forfeiture order to be granted.
Despite the ongoing legal battle, investors are reminded that this process does not exclude any other civil remedy that any aggrieved person may wish to pursue.
As the case progresses, the FSCA continues to underline the importance of investor vigilance. It advises members of the public to ensure that any entity or individual offering a financial product or service is authorized by the FSCA, suggesting verification through a toll-free number, online searches for authorized financial institutions by license category, or a search for an authorized Financial Service Provider (FSP) under the FAIS Act.
Case details: Court: High Court, Gauteng Division, Johannesburg Parties: The National Director of Public Prosecutions and Jacobus Stephanus Geldenhuis, Jacoba Magdalena Geldenhuis, Classic Financial Services (One) (Pty) Ltd, Murry Pierce Kligour Case number: 2022-036292