Friday, June 09, 2006

White millionaire, Mugabe friend, flees Zim

One of Britain's richest men is reported to have fled Zimbabwe in a private jet this week after President Robert Mugabe, his former business ally, launched an investigation into his companies' affairs.

John Bredenkamp, who was a sanctions-buster and gun-runner for the former Rhodesian leader Ian Smith, switched allegiances to become one of Mr Mugabe's most influential business associates...
"The National Economic Conduct Inspectorate raided local companies owned by business tycoon John Bredenkamp to investigate cases linked to economic crimes," the Herald reported. It said the businessman was "being probed on allegations of flouting exchange control regulations, tax evasion and contravening the citizenship act"...
Mr Bredenkamp's meddling in party feuds within Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF is seen as the real reason for the investigations. He was associated with Emmerson Mnangagwa, once Mr Mugabe's heir apparent who is now out of favour for having been too eager to see Mr Mugabe retire....
Mr Bredenkamp's swift exit from the Zanu-PF inner circle leaves the British property magnate, Nicholas van Hoogstraten, as Mr Mugabe's most prominent friend in international business. Mr van Hoogstraten, who has a vast ranch in central Zimbabwe which has not been seized by the president's supporters, has spoken frequently of his friendship with Mr Mugabe, and said recently that he had lent him $10m, although Mr Mugabe's spokesman later denied it.

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