SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — An arrest warrant was issued for a Jewish South African businessman who is alleged to have duped investors in a Ponzi scheme.
Barry Tannenbaum is alleged to have defrauded investors out of $1.61 billion.
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said in parliament in Cape Town Tuesday that a warrant had been issued for Tannenbaum, who is believed to be living in Australia, as well as for his South African lawyer, Dean Rees.
Tannenbaum, 43, is believed to have enticed nearly 800 investors — many of them allegedly Jews from South Africa, Britain, Israel and Australia — with promises of returns of up to 200 percent.
His assets in South Africa have been frozen by a local court and the National Prosecuting Authority has started proceedings to extradite him, Business Day reported Wednesday.
In June, when the scandal was revealed, Tannenbaum categorically denied it as “wild allegations, conjecture and speculation.” He did not reply to an e-mailed request from Bloomberg news service for comment on the arrest warrant.
A spokesman for the South African task force set up in the wake of the scandal said Interpol could arrest the pair “no matter where they are in the world,” according to South African media.