Quoin Rock wine farm 'not sold' to 'Sushi King' Kunene
Flamboyant convict turned- millionaire Kenny "Sushi King" Kunene says he never lies to his friends on Twitter, suggesting that he is indeed a partner in the purchase of the Quoin Rock grape farm near Cape Agulhas - for R13 million.
The Quoin Rock winery and manor estate.
But although he says he "knows nothing" about the sale of the controversial 194-hectare Quoin Rock Winery in Stellenbosch for R85m a week ago, Quoin Rock liquidator Cloete Murray says both the estate and the Cape Agulhas grape farm were bought by the same company - K2012019517 (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd.
The Stellenbosch property was bought on Wednesday last week for R85m, via public tender, after a failed auction in December last year which led ultimately to the expose of the auction house involved, Auction Alliance.
The grape farm was sold last December.
Questions were raised after Kunene tweeted of the Cape Agulhas property: "Thanx2all who wished me well, I became the highest bidder@da auction n got the farm. God is great."
This week Murray confirmed that company representative Dale Irvine, assisted by legal adviser Yolandi Olivier, bought both farms on behalf of K2012019517. But he knew nothing about the involvement of Kunene.
"Kenny Kunene is not a buyer of any of the properties, neither does he represent a buyer.
"His name is not on any of the documents," he said.
Ukrainian businessman Denys Aloshyn bid on behalf of K2012019517, he added.
Asked to comment last night, Kunene said he didn't buy or bid on Quoin Rock Stellenbosch.
But he added: "I never lie to my friends on Twitter."
He added that he had "too many businesses all over Africa, and you'll never find my name on any of these businesses."
Of the Cape Agulhas auction, he said: "I'm disappointed people there didn't see me because people greeted me very warmly at the auction."
But of the Stellenbosch auction ?
"I know nothing about that and I wasn't there."
Although Murray expressed surprise at what he said were "sensational" reports that Kunen had bought the farms, he said it was "possible" that Kunene accompanied Aloshyn to the public auction of the Cape Agulhas property.
The earlier auction of the Quoin Rock winery in Stellenbosch has become known as a landmark "fake auction", which played a crucial role in toppling the Auction Alliance empire and its chief executive Rael Levitt, who is the subject of a fraud investigation by the Hawks.
Kunene spent from 1993 to 2003 in jail for fraud, but has since made a fortune in the mining and entertainment business.
He is known for bragging about his R12m Sandton home and his Lamborghini sportscar, and for the millions he spends on birthday parties during which sushi is served on the bodies of semi-naked women. He also funds his own reality show on e.tv.
Murray said the offer from K2012019517 (South Africa) Pty Ltd was the only one received for the second sale of the Stellenbosch property, while about eight bidders took part in the public auction of the Quoin Rock Vineyards in Cape Agulhas.
Both properties would be transferred to the buyers in about six to nine weeks from the dates of sale, he added.
Both were previously owned by businessman Dave King, and were auctioned off to cover some of the billions he allegedly owes the SA Revenue Services (Sars) and the Reserve Bank.
Murray said the R85m was a good price for the Stellenbosch estate, considering the depression in the wine industry on the back of the financial crisis in Europe.
"We are happy with the price. The value is a lot closer to the valuation of R89m we received, compared with the R55m offered by (Wendy) Appelbaum (at the fake auction)."
He added that the proceeds from the sale of the Cape Agulhas property would go the the Reserve Bank in lieu of exchange control contraventions committed by King. Also, at least R74m of the R85m which the new owners paid for the Stellenbosch property would go towards settling King's estimated R2,7bn tax debt.
Sars spokesman Adrian Lackay welcomed the news, saying that the public tender process followed by the liquidators represented the "most efficient, timeous, transparent and cost-effective way in order to recover tax revenues that are due to the fiscus."
Lackay and Murray denied claims by King, made recently to Weekend Argus, that he would try and claim the Stellenbosch property back from the state because it had been "completely unlawfully" attached.
Lackay said 'due legal process was followed by order of court'. There was "no legal action to contest the sale of the farm", he added.
Murray said King's claims were "absolute nonsense".
"When we were planning the auction late last year, Mr King brought an application to stop us and he failed dismally, to such an extent that they (King's legal team) offered to pay costs," he added.
Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition)