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Wednesday Nov 23, 2016

Controversial Arthur J Brown's hotel, spa up for auction

The luxury Sante Hotel and Spa, near Paarl, the last of the Fidentia assets, will go under the hammer next week, almost nine years after the huge corporate fraud scandal rocked the country.

The ClareMart Auction Group has been appointed to facilitate the sale of the luxury property, two years after the mastermind behind the Fidentia scandal, J Arthur Brown, was sentenced to 15 years in jail on two counts of fraud.

The Sante Hotel and Spa, near Paarl, goes under the hammer next week.

Brown lavishly spent the savings of widows and orphans, wasting hundreds of millions of their money.

He was arrested in 2007 after being exposed for running a pyramid scheme using investors' funds for his personal gain.

Curators say the entire property was purchased in 2004 and 2005 at cost of over R117million. All outstanding municipal accounts have been settled.

ClareMart Auction Group chief executive Jonathan Smiedt said the Sante Hotel and Spa would possibly always be remembered as the last pawn in a chessboard of opulence and endless luxury in the hands of Fidentia.

"While the Fidentia case, said to have involved investor losses close to R1 billion, is not the first, only or biggest incident of corporate fraud in South Africa, it certainly was one of the most widely publicised," Smiedt said.

The life-destroying losses that many unsuspectinginvestors had incurred struck a chord with thousands.

"Whether or you were directly affected, one received a wake-up call about the pitfalls that may exist even when dealing with what were thought to be reputable and registered asset managers.

"We are committed to facilitating this sale in the best interest of the aggrieved parties. It can never entirely make up for the financial distress so many people found themselves in, but we will aim to get the best possible price for this magnificent property, to contribute some form of retribution for the Fidentia victims," Smiedt added.

The Sante Hotel complex includes an elegant reception, two lounges, a cocktail bar, billiard room and entertainment facility which flows to a patio and a swimming pool, a fine-dining restaurant and 10 luxury fully fitted suites.

The package is completed with a multifunction and fully equipped conference centre.

Cape Argus


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