Dangerous Deceits: Julian Askin and the Tollgate Scandal

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9780002571449: Dangerous Deceits: Julian Askin and the Tollgate Scandal

This text presents Julian Askin's investigation into the Tollgate Group, the Absa bank's liquidation of Tollgate and arrest of Askin at by Italian authorities. On his arrest being declared illegal, Askin began a detailed investigation which uncovered a conspiracy by the South African Reserve Bank.

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From the Back Cover:

In the early 1970s, a young Englishman arrived in South Africa to pursue his fortune, as, over a century or two, many had before him.

Julian Askin worked in coal-mining and a variety of other capacities, but became best known for a column in Finance Week and as a bon vivant and member of café society.

He was however to make his fortune not in South Africa, but back in England. He and his South African partner, Hugo Bierman, bought an ailing company, Thomson T. Line, repositioned it, and via a succession of deals ended up with control of Vernons Pools. On the sale of this organisation, Askin was rich.

In March 1990, shortly after Nelson Mandela's release from prison, Julian Askin, now a respected British businessman, led a consortium of investors in acquiring the Tollgate Group, one of South Africa's biggest industrial companies. He and his wife Susie built a spectacular Cape Dutch mansion with sweeping views over false bay, and soon became prominent members of Cape society.

But he was to discover that in buying Tollgate he had been grossly misled, and lured into a web of financial danger and deceit.

A confrontation with Trust Bank, now part of Absa, led to the bank's liquidation of Tollgate and Askin's hasty flight from South Africa. The subsequent pursuit and harrying of Askin culminated in his arrest at gunpoint at a villa in Tuscany by Italian authorities suborned by South Africa.

On his arrest being declared illegal by the Italian Supreme Court, Askin, in England once more, began a detailed investigation which uncovered an undisclosed "lifeboat" loan by the South African Reserve Bank, another Afrikaner-controlled institution, which effectively shielded Absa and its shareholders from potential losses, at the South African taxpayers' expense.

In spite of death threats being made to Askin and his family, his story now told, reveals a terrifying account of the relentless pursuit of an individual by a massive institution with powerful hidden supporters.

'Dangerous Deceits' uncovers one of the most shocking financial and political scandals of recent years – a scandal which goes to the heart of both the old and the new South Africa. It reveals a massive web of deceit involving senior members of government, the country's largest bank, and the misuse of billions of rand of South African taxpayers' money – money that could have helped to build the new South Africa.

Frank Welsh, author of 'A History of South Africa' and 'Uneasy City', an investigation of London's financial institutions, has prepared this account of the extent to which the Afrikaner Broederbond was able to maintain its influence, and the extent of corruption in South Africa, both before and after the election of Nelson Mandela as President.

About the Author:

Frank Welsh was born in Washington, County Durham, and educated at Magdalene College, Cambridge. He has had a varied career in international business and banking, including service on the boards of nationalised industries and as a member of the Royal Commission on the National Health Service. His books include ‘The Profit of the State’, ‘Uneasy City’, ‘Building the Trireme’ and ‘A History of Hong Kong’. Frank Welsh lives in France and England.

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