Exposed: Rael Levitt’s kickback racket

13 May 2016 - 11:44 By FIONA FORDE MAY
Preparing to drop the hammer on the sale is auctioneer and CEO of Auction Alliance, Rael Levitt. File photo.
Preparing to drop the hammer on the sale is auctioneer and CEO of Auction Alliance, Rael Levitt. File photo.
Image: MARK WESSELS

A damning forensic report about financial wrongdoing at controversial Auction Alliance (AA) has implicated a string of auctioneers, liquidators, attorneys, bank officials and prominent individuals in hundreds of millions of rand of secret commission payments.

Although some similar transactions have been reported in the past, the forensic report, a copy of which Business Day has seen, shows how they were only the tip of the iceberg involving financial wrongdoing at the firm.

Auction Alliance and its founder and MD Rael Levitt brought an urgent interdict in the High Court in Johannesburg last night to prevent Business Day from publishing the report’s contents.

However, Judge Lotter Wepener turned down the application, with costs.

The report is the product of a forensic investigation that was carried out by auditor Allan Greyling in 2012, ironically at the behest of the board of Auction Alliance.

With the co-operation of senior staff and the assistance of 400 gigabytes of e-mail traffic, as well as company financial records, the Accounts at Law (A@L) produced a damning and detailed 86-page report.

But it has been gathering dust while a sequence of legal disputes, first about "ghost bidding" and later search warrants, which the forensic report was also subject to, wended their way through the courts.

Among other things, the report claims that hefty commissions were paid to counterparties that may have encouraged early foreclosures in order to facilitate auction business.

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