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Agliotti Didn’t Order Fund Manager Attack, Hodes Says

A lawyer for Glenn Agliotti, charged with organizing the killing of mining magnate Brett Kebble and seeking to have four other people murdered, sought to pin the blame for the shooting of an Allan Gray Ltd. fund manager on his security manager.

Agliotti is charged with ordering Clinton Nassif to organize the shooting of Stephen Mildenhall, former chief investment officer, at Cape Town’s Allan Gray on Aug. 31, 2005.

Mildenhall had been pressuring Kebble, at that time a friend of Agliotti’s, to quit his role as the head of three mining companies. Prosecutors say that a month later Agliotti organized to have Kebble shot dead in his car in Johannesburg. Agliotti says the murder was requested by Kebble, who feared jail on fraud charges, and it was “an assisted suicide.”

Nassif “played the most important role in the shooting of Mr. Mildenhall,” Laurence Hodes, Agliotti’s lawyer, said in court today. “The accused had absolutely nothing to do with it.”

Mildenhall told the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg last week that he was shot in both shoulders at his home. Nigel McGurk, a former nightclub doorman, said he had hired two Cape Town residents on Nassif’s orders to attack the money manager. Allan Gray, together with Investec Ltd., had demanded that Kebble cede his roles as chief executive officer of Randgold & Exploration Ltd., JCI Ltd. and Western Areas Ltd.

Agliotti, a convicted drug dealer and former friend of Kebble, was involved and had wanted Mildenhall attacked to comply with orders he had been given, Nassif said. Agliotti was the “pressure cooker” who ensured the instructions were carried out, he said.

Waved to Killer

Nassif and the three men who carried out the killing of Kebble have confessed to the crime in a bid to win immunity from prosecution. Agliotti has said that it was “an assisted suicide” carried out at Kebble’s request because he feared going to jail.

On the day of Kebble’s death, Sept. 27, 2005, Nassif said he went to Kebble’s house and the two said a prayer, according to a court statement read out by Hodes. Nassif said that as he left he told Kebble the man waiting for him in a car outside the house, Michael Schultz, was the man who would shoot him. Kebble waved to Schultz, Nassif said.

“This whole thing is ridiculous,” Nassif said.

Loan, Rights Offer

In an 11-year career in South Africa’s gold mining industry, Kebble, who died at the age of 41, helped set up two of the country’s four biggest gold companies, Harmony Gold Mining Co. and DRDGold Ltd. Investec Ltd., a bank, and Allan Gray pressed for his departure after hundreds of millions of dollars worth of assets went missing from Randgold & Exploration.

Investec Ltd. agreed to lend JCI 460 million rand ($66 million) to help complete a mine development by Western Areas on the world’s biggest gold deposit on condition Kebble left.

Allan Gray wanted his departure as a condition to support a concurrent rights offer by Western Areas, in which it held an about 25-percent stake, Mildenhall said. JCI held 39 percent of Western Areas.

Agliotti is also charged with conspiring to murder Mark Bristow, the chief executive officer of Randgold Resources Ltd., Jean Nortier, the chief executive officer of Uranium One Ltd., and Mark Wellesley-Wood, the former chief executive officer of DRDGold. Kebble was involved in disputes with the three men.

Shares of Randgold & Exploration were suspended in 2005 and recommenced trade on June 4, this year. The company now has a market value of 411 million rand. JCI also has plans to have trade in its shares restarted.

The case is: State versus Agliotti, Norbert Glenn, JPV 2008/264, SS154/2009.

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