Ex-banker receives death threats in rough South African prison
The former president of Banco Privado Português (BPP), João Rendeiro, has been transferred to the notoriously rough prison Westville Correction Facility near Durban.
The ex-banker spent the weekend in police custody following his arrest at a luxury hotel on Saturday, appearing before magistrates on Monday.
Banker João Rendeiro’s defence team is to apply for a transfer to another less violent prison after he allegedly received death threats, according to his South Africa lawyer June Marks, reports the Lusa news agency.
“As a result of the news” from press organisations, he (João Rendeiro) is receiving death threats”, said his lawyer, adding “other prisoners had heard the news on the radio”. “We’re going to request the transfer” of the former BPP president.
Westville Prison, 30 km outside Durban, is one of the largest and most notorious prisons in South Africa with literally tens of thousands of prisoners. In 2005 it had 40,000 prisoners.
The establishment is famous for the “supercane serial killer” Thozamile Taki who famously made an escape in 2010 with eight others.
And a full-scale riot broke out on November 28, 2017, after two prisoners attacked another in the exercise yard to avenge a stabbing of an inmate — who allegedly died after not being taken to hospital — in front of the head of section who was about to address about 360 prisoners.
On Tuesday at 11am, the runaway banker was taken to a second court hearing. João Rendeiro’s defence team has applied for bail. The Portuguese public ministry is applying for extradition to serve a 10-year sentence in Portugal for fraud and book cooking at the bank which collapsed in 2010 leaving scores of investors holding worthless paper bonds.
On leaving the court, João Rendeiro turned and told journalists that he would not be returning to Portugal, and the authorities would not be able to make him.
João Rendeiro was detained by Durban police at 5am on Saturday morning where he was staying at the luxury 5-star Forest Manor Boutique Guest house hotel where rooms cost between €90-€216 per night per person. The hotel management said it had assisted the police on Saturday morning and had no other statements to make, reported Portugal’s SIC TV’s news channel.
Rendeiro founded BPP in 1998, but by 2010 he had left 6,000 investors penniless, yet had around €23 million stashed away in offshore accounts and a valuable art collection, falsified copies of which were handed over to the police — transferred to his wife.
João Rendeiro had been on the run from Portuguese justice since September and was then the object of two International arrest warrants.