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Archive for the ‘Feature’ Category

Julian Rademeyer on Vixay Keosavang: The “Mr Big of Wildlife Crime in Laos”

Killing for ProfitInvestigative journalist Julian Rademeyer has written a guest post for the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) on the “’Mr Big’ of wildlife crime in Laos”, Vixay Keosavang, who runs the Xaysavang syndicate. Rademeyer exposed the syndicate, first writing about it in 2011 and investigating it further in Killing for Profit: Exposing the Illegal Rhino Horn Trade.

Rademeyer writes that after spending two years researching the syndicate and gathering hundreds of pages of documents on Xaysavang, Keosavang’s name only comes up 16 times: “He remained largely in the shadows, a distant puppet-master reaping the rewards of the killing but rarely dirtying his own hands.”

One of Keosavang’s main lieutenants in South Africa, Chumlong Lemtongthai, is currently serving a 30 year sentence here in South Africa, reduced on appeal from 40 years. However, despite the $1 million reward being offered for information on the syndicate, Rademeyer writes that Keosavang remains untouchable as the Loatian government seems to have no interest in taking action against him. He also points out that there are many other syndicate heads that aren’t known and who “continue to feed a seemingly insatiable market for contraband wildlife products.”

Vixay Keosavang is one of the most ruthless and prolific wildlife criminals operating in South-East Asia today. Some call him the “Pablo Escobar of animal trafficking”. Others describe him as the “Mr Big” of wildlife crime in Laos, the tiny one-party communist state bordered by Myanmar, China, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam that continues to harbour him.

The criminal syndicate he oversees, dubbed the “Xaysavang network” after the name of an import/export company he established in 2008, has been implicated in the smuggling and slaughter of thousands of animals including pangolins, primates, reptiles, snakes, rhinos, elephants, lions and tigers.

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Podcast: Richard Calland Discusses How the ANC Could Leverage the Upcoming Election Date

The Zuma YearsRichard Calland, political analyst and author of The Zuma Years, spoke to Xolani Gwala on Talk Radio 702 following President Jacob Zuma’s announcement that the 2014 general elections will be held on 7 May.

Calland discusses whether or not this particular date will benefit any one party, saying that it could be favourable to the ANC as 27 April is Freedom Day and it’s the 20 year anniversary of democracy this year. As the state will be holding big celebrations up until and on this day he says that if the ANC handles this well they can tailor it towards reminding everybody of the party’s role in establishing democracy.

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Presenting Everyone’s Guide to the South African Economy 11th Edition by André Roux

Everyone's Guide to the South African Economy 11th EditionZebra Press is excited to announce the arrival of Everyone’s Guide to the South African Economy 11th Edition by André Roux:

Recession, inflation, interest rates, income tax, exchange rates … We are bombarded with these terms every day – by newspapers, the radio, TV and the internet – but what do they actually mean? And how do they impact on you?

In this updated edition of Everyone’s Guide to the South African Economy, all these issues – and more – are addressed. The book clearly explains and evaluates a wide range of economic occurrences – from the budget and the rand/dollar exchange rate to the balance of payments and the role of the South African Reserve Bank.

The book investigates the causes and consequences of the 2008/2009 global financial and economic crisis, looks at the sub-Saharan African economy, and explores human development issues in South Africa and their implications for policy-making. If you are baffled by the specialised jargon of economists and bankers and want to know more about the economic forces that subtly dictate your day-to-day existence, Everyone’s Guide to the South African Economy will put you in the picture. This is essential reading for every South African consumer and taxpayer. Economics, after all, is too important to be left to economists.

About the author

André Roux has lectured in economics to undergraduate and postgraduate students since 1981. He is currently an associate professor at the Graduate School of Business of the University of Stellenbosch, and is also director of the university’s Institute for Futures Research.

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Rob Rose Reveals Barry Tannenbaum Spent Over R62 Million on Online Poker in The Grand Scam

The Grand ScamAnt Katz from the South African Jewish Report has written about The Grand Scam by Rob Rose, which examines the Ponzi scheme run by Barry Tannenbaum between 2005 and 2009. In the book Rose reveals that Tannenbaum spent over R62 million on online poker in just a few years.

Katz writes that before senior public prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach was suspended in 2011 she was trying to get Tannenbaum, who is living in Australia, extradited. Sipho Masombuka from The Times reported last month that “the R54-million seized by the National Prosecuting Authority’s asset forfeiture unit from the huge Ponzi scheme set up by businessman Tannenbaum resulted in the surpassing of the unit’s R55-million target”.

As fugitives Barry Tannenbaum and his partner and lawyer Dean Rees were spending R5,000 per bottle of champagne SCHMOOZING & LURING INVESTORS on a yacht they were renting for R500,000 a day, Tannenbaum was blowing a whopping R62-mil on online poker gaming!
9g-TannenbaumSunday Times Business Times editor Rob Rose published a new book on the alleged Ponzi scheme by Barry Tannenbaum that fleeced wealthy businessmen of a reported R12.5-billion. Rose reveals Tannenbaum as a “con artist who stole investors’ cash to satisfy his voracious appetite for poker.”

Money from the multibillion-rand Barry Tannenbaum Ponzi scheme made up most of the R82-million deposited in the state’s criminal assets recovery account.

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said in Pretoria yesterday that the R54-million seized by the National Prosecuting Authority’s asset forfeiture unit from the huge Ponzi scheme set up by businessman Tannenbaum resulted in the surpassing of the unit’s R55-million target.

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Julian Rademeyer: “This is the Rhino’s Last Stand”

Killing for Profit“It is a sound you never forget,” Julian Rademeyer, author of Killing for Profit, writes about the piercing cry that rhinos make when they are hurt. He describes the first time he heard it, sitting in an office watching footage of Thai national Chumlong Lemtongthai and others tracking and then shooting a rhino. Lemtongthai is now serving a 40-year sentence in South Africa.

In this article for Departures, Rademeyer explains what solutions are being discussed to combat rhino poaching, such as the legalisation of the trade and a once-off sale of South Africa’s stockpiles. He also describes how he has grown attached to “these lumbering giants of the bush”.

“A relic of a long-dead past, rhinos predate us by 50 million years. At this rate, they won’t survive us. This is the rhino’s last stand,” Rademeyer writes.

Rhino poaching is at an all-time high, but will legalizing the horn trade stop the slaughter or seal the species’ fate?

It is a sound you never forget. Perhaps because it is so unexpected in an animal weighing two tons: a piercing, unearthly keen, like a child crying out in pain. It is hard to describe and even harder to endure.

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Video: Gary Player Featured on 21 Icons South Africa in Short Documentary, Portrait and Essay

Don't Choke“I was never influenced by what other people thought, I believed I could do it,” Gary Player says in the opening scene of the short documentary on him by Adrian Steirn, who is behind 21 Icons South Africa. Filmmaker and photographer Steirn is in the process of shooting portraits and documentaries of extraordinary South Africans including Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and Nadine Gordimer.

Player explains how he was initially not that interested in golf, which his father used to play on the mines, but then the bug bit and he started practicing all day. Steirn visited Player in his hometown Colesberg in the Northern Cape, where he shot a comical portrait of Player as the only entrant into the Colesberg Open.

Watch the documentary, see the portrait and read the essay on Player, written by Michael Hathorn:

Muirfield, 1959. A 23-year-old Gary Player has come from four shots behind at the start of the final day to lead the field at the British Open. Conditions are mild – surprisingly, for England in July, the rain has held off – and the young South African is on the verge of an extraordinary comeback.

Because he started so far behind the leaders, he finishes long before those chasing him. The final hole is a disaster: Player three-putts. Thinking that he’s blown his chance at a first major, he walks back to the clubhouse fighting back tears.

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Video: Barry Sergeant and Kevin Wakeford Discuss The Assault on the Rand

The Assault on the RandBarry Sergeant was in studio at ABN to discuss his new book, The Assault on the Rand, with Alec Hogg and Kevin Wakeford, who joined them for the discussion. Sergeant explained that he wrote the book now because Wakeford, who played a crucial role in blowing the whistle in 2001 on the manipulation in the currency markets, did not want to talk about it for a long time and Sergeant felt that the book would be incomplete without his input.

Sergeant and Wakeford spoke about 2001 collapse of the rand and the subsequent Rand Commission. Click to watch the video:

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Ivory Trafficker Emile N’bouke Arrested with 700 Kilograms of Ivory (Plus: Video)

Killing for ProfitJulian Rademeyer, author of Killing for Profit: Exposing the Illegal Rhino Horn Trade, has written about the arrest of ivory trafficker, Emile N’bouke, who was caught in Togo with 700 kilograms of ivory in his possession.

Earlier this year, Rademeyer went undercover in Togo to try and track down an ivory poaching kingpin. He posed as a wildlife dealer and used a hidden camera to get footage of the trafficking operation, which was run by N’bouke. Rademeyer was joined by Bill Weir from ABC’s Nightline, who produced this video using the footage from the undercover operation. (Please note that the video contains graphic images, which might upset sensitive viewers.)

Early in 2013, Julian Rademeyer, the author of Killing for Profit – Exposing the illegal rhino horn trade, went undercover in the West African country of Togo. His job was to track down an ivory poaching kingpin. Working closely with Ofir Drori, director of the wildlife enforcement NGO, LAGA, he posed as a wildlife dealer to obtain hidden camera footage of an ivory trafficking operation. The man at its helm was Emile N’bouke. The other ivory traders called him “The Boss”. Well-protected and politically well-connected, he seemed untouchable. ABC Nightline’s Bill Weir joined the hunt…

UPDATE: Emile N’bouke was arrested on 6 August, 2013. According to a BBC News report, investigators found 700kg of ivory in his shop in the country’s capital, Lome.

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Vietnamese Wildlife Trade Authority Denies that Vietnam is Driving Rhino Horn Trade

Killing for ProfitJulian Rademeyer, author of Killing for Profit: Exposing the Illegal Rhino Horn Trade, has written an article for the Mail & Guardian about comments that Do Quang Tung, the head of Vietnam’s Cites Management Authority, made at the recent Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites).

Do denied allegations that Vietnam is the driving force behind the illegal rhino horn trade and “claimed that Vietnamese intelligence agencies had identified China as the destination for ’99% of the horn that goes through Vietnam’”. Rademeyer outlines the evidence that contradicts Do’s denials and looks at Vietnam’s history of not acting against rhino horn smuggling:

The head of Vietnam’s wildlife trade authority has angrily dismissed accusations that his country is the driving force behind the illicit trade in rhino horn, describing them as “bullshit”. He went on to blame China for the slaughter.

In a rare interview during the triennial conference of parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), Do Quang Tung, who is the acting head of Vietnam’s Cites Management Authority, lashed out at critics who have identified the country as a “rapacious” consumer of rhino horn.

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Video: Julian Rademeyer Discusses the Disturbing Statistics for Rhino Poaching in the Past Year

Killing for ProfitReuters has looked back on a “bloody year” for rhino poaching, noting that 633 rhinos were killed for their horns in South Africa by mid-December 2012.

In the following video, Simon Hanna interviews Julian Rademeyer, author of Killing for Profit: Exposing the Illegal Rhino Horn Trade, who says that the demand for rhino horns seems to be growing exponentially.

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