2 charges dropped, 2 more upheld against Hoogstraten

Gerrard Winstanley news at tlio.org.uk
Thu Feb 28 23:59:07 GMT 2008

2 charges dropped, 2 more upheld against Hoogstraten

ARRESTED: Van Hoogstraten
RELEASED: Van Hoogstraten

By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: Wed, 20 Feb 2008 14:43:33 GMT
A ZIMBABWEAN court on Tuesday cleared British businessman Nicholas van
Hoogstraten on charges of money laundering and possessing fake South
African rands, but put him on his defence on exchange control and
pornography charges.

Van Hoogstraten was arrested at his Harare home in January after one
of his tenants told the police that he had been demanding rentals in
foreign currency.

After his house was raided, police stumbled on pornographic material,
a small amount of fake South African rands, Z$20 billion, US$37 586,
R92 880, £190 and 180 pula.

The Harare Magistrates Court dismissed money-laundering charges and
concurred with the businessman’s defence team that the South African
rands were not legal tender in Zimbabwe, and as such no law was violated.

“It looks apparent to this court that the alleged fake South African
rands, which are the subject matter of count four, are not and have
not at any time been legal tender in Zimbabwe,” the court said.

“It is difficult to fathom or see how the prosecution intends to prove
the contravention of the RBZ Act when the legal tender involved is the
South African rand.

“The gigantic emphasis placed in the functions of the RBZ by the state
appears misdirected. This count will accordingly be quashed.”

Hoogstraten, 63, is a multi-millionaire who once arranged a hand
grenade attack on a business rival and has built himself a palace in
the Sussex countryside.

A frequent visitor to Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, Hoogstraten
has invested in property, mining, farming and banking concerns and has
spoken openly of his support and financial dealings with President
Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF party, which favoured him in more than
two decades of investment in the southern African nation.

In 2006, a British newspaper, The Sunday Times, quoted van Hoogstaten
as having said he had given President Robert Mugabe a £10 million
pound loan. But Mugabe's spokesperson George Charamba said the claim
was "cheap propaganda and a vain attempt to besmirch" the President.

Charamba said the president was "neither a borrower nor lender",
adding: "Robert Mugabe has no relationship with any tycoon, let alone
of British stock."

van Hoogstaten later called a press conference in Harare to deny
having given money to Mugabe.


More information about the Diggers350 mailing list