Monday 4 December 2017

Mark Lifman in the President's Keepers

In The President's Keepers author Jacques Pauw writes about "Those keeping Zuma in power and out of prison" and we take the liberty to quote the full chapter 9, which exclusively deals with Mark Lifman:

NINE - The gentleman gangster and his donkey

In the shadow of one of the world's natural icons – Table Mountain – lurks a web of sleaze and skulduggery, ruled by nightmarish mobsters and ruffians. Many have relocated from far away to peddle their trade in narcotics, women and bouncers on the shores of Cape Town. Some have settled in idyllic Camps Bay or Clifton while others trade from seaside flats in Sea Point and Three Anchor Bay. Their nicknames often give away their origin: Hoosain “the Moroccan” Ait-Taleb and Yuri “the Russian” Ulianitski. After Yuri died in a hail of bullets, Igor “the New Russian” Russol took his place. They have in turn merged with local gangsters to form one of the most feared criminal gangdoms in the world. One figure has over the past decade repeatedly emerged from this murky underground domain: Mark Roy Lifman, often referred to as a “businessman-gangster”. The clean-shaven and square-jawed Lifman, his coiffed hair neatly parted on the side as he slides in his designer clothes into an array of super-cars, cuts a suave and sophisticated image. He is a far cry from his “business associate”, Jerome “Donkie” Booysen (donkie is Afrikaans for donkey), head of the Sexy Boys gang on the Cape Flats.

According to the Mail & Guardian, Lifman was closely associated with Yuri and joined him at a restaurant hours before the Russian was mowed down. They were co-owners of a strip club in Sea Point. Lifman was also linked to bouncer boss and club owner Cyril Beeka, another mobster who was later assassinated.

After Beeka's death, Lifman filled the void with his own security company and linked up with Ait-Taleb. Their security company had about 350 doormen or bouncers working at 146 clubs throughout the city. That was roughly 60 per cent of the province's nightlife. It is important to remember that bouncers at doors determine what drugs from whom enter the premises.

Tuesday 5 January 2016

Shimmy Beach Club and mafia-man Mark Lifman

Shimmy Beach Club likes to present itself as the posh venue where the high society goes to party. At last we are certain, that Shimmy is the place where Underworld King Mark Lifman goes to collect his share of the profits.

After Mark Lifman added Shimmy to his business portfolio and articles made this fact public Shimmy Beach Club released an official "response to negative Press allegations" where they carefully worded "Shimmy wishes to state categorically that Mr. Lifman is not, and has never been a stakeholder in Shimmy. Shimmy has no relationship whatsoever with Mr. Lifman." which might be true in a legal sense. But factually we were able to confirm from various current and ex employees, that Mark Lifman is indeed regularly working at Shimmy Beach Club and managing security there. It appears, that his shareholding is kept by Seelan Sundoo as the front person but Mark Lifman is reaping all the profits from it.

As Shimmy staff is reporting strategies of fear and violence working there, you might not be surprised to read these reviews of Shimmy Beach Club on HelloPeter:

Bouncer brutally assaulted "He next pushed me back & grabbed me in a choke grip & started hauling me to the door. Once I reached the exit, my head was pushed into the tar, this created a severe cut above my right eye & broke a front tooth, to the extent the tooth was knocked out & all my other teeth are chipped & damaged from hitting the ground. Subsequently the bouncer pushed my head along the tarred floor which tore my lower earlobe to the extent I had to be rushed to ICU. When I returned to lay charges, the attitude hadn't changed. Shimmey Beach Club is the drug den that everyone knows it to me & it's security are disgusting savage pigs. I will lay charges, talk to reporters & do everything I can to show this club for what it really is."
Assault "... I was warned by the security who put a AK47 gun pointed at me that my band would be taken off I and I wouldn't be allowed inside again because I was in and out. Yesterday I walked out once to go put my sunglasses in the car because it was getting dark and I did not want to keep it with me all night. As I was walking out the same security threatened to smack me if I walked out again and will not be allowed back in. At round about 8pm my friends came and I had their tickets. So I walked out to give them their tickets but was pulled to the side and choked by that same security. I pay to be at this party. I am not doing anything wrong or illegal, is this place a prison that you not allowed to go to your car even?"

As we expect Shimmy to pursue legal actions against us publishing these facts, we ask all people with specific knowledge of the operations and/or shareholding at Shimmy to contact us with evidence!

And here is a copy of the article from the Sunday Times from 29 June 2014 by Pearlie Joubert
The story Hennig and partners don’t want you to read
SOUTH African business tycoon Walter Hennig holds the “ultimate beneficial ownership” of Cape Town’s trendiest restaurant and nightclub, Shimmy Beach Club — linking him to one of Cape Town’s most notorious gangster-businessmen, Mark Lifman.
Lifman, who is under investigation by the directorate of priority crimes (the Hawks) for running his security company, Specialised Protection Services (SPS), illegally, is also understood to be the subject of scrutiny by the South African Revenue Services for tax evasion.
The Shimmy Beach Club, built on the south arm of the Waterfront on the water’s edge, is a firm favourite among Cape Town’s elite.
Since its opening in December 2012 — which was attended by the likes of mobster boss and alleged murderer Radovan Krejcir — celebrity guests have included Oscar Pistorius, Olympic swimmer Ryk Neethling, and Danny K and his wife, Lisa Gundelfinger.
The Sunday Times can reveal that:
Hennig, the owner of Palladino, among numerous other companies and trusts, has invested “vast amounts of money” in Shimmy Beach Club, listed as “offshore funding” in company records;
According to two sources, Lifman also sank a cash “loan” into Shimmy and provided security and restaurant equipment to it with Hennig’s knowledge. “Shimmy obtain [ed] certain restaurant supplies and security services from two entities that our clients understand are linked to Lifman . . . by September 2013 all agreements with these entities had been terminated,” said Werksmans attorneys in an e-mail to the Sunday Times; and
A lease agreement between the Waterfront and a company registered as 138081 trading as East Pier Beach Club, signed in December 2011, links Lifman’s Lifmar Trust and a former employee of Shimmy directly to what is now known as Shimmy.
Hennig denies that Lifman has links with Shimmy, although Lifman boasts on his website of his association with the upmarket club. This, despite Hennig claiming that he has instituted legal action to get Lifman to retract the link.
Lifman, a property mogul who allegedly owns more than 60 properties, including clothing stores, clubs and restaurants in Cape Town, has also had a long business association with Jerome “Donkey” Booysen, leader of the Sexy Boys gang.
Recently, the Sunday Times published a photograph of Lifman — sporting an ANC VIP tag — at President Jacob Zuma’s birthday rally in Athlone in the company of former deputy
Interviews with people close to Shimmy paint a different picture
minister and current provincial ANC leader Marius Fransman.
According to documents, Lifman and Shimmy’s former chef, Seelan Sundoo, signed a memorandum of understanding in December 2011, two days after signing the heads of agreement with the Waterfront.
The memorandum states that a shelf company — then called K2011138081 and trading as The East Pier Beach Club — was bought “with a view to establishing a beach bar and restaurant”.
Sundoo, on behalf of the company, signed a five-year lease agreement with the Waterfront’s chief executive, David Green, in December 2011.
According to the memorandum, Lifman’s trust would hold 49% of the shares in the company and Sundoo 51% and the company would “contract” with the Waterfront “for the establishment of a beach bar and restaurant”.
The Waterfront denies it ever signed a lease agreement involving Lifman, insisting it only signed one lease agreement with the club from December 2012 for seven-and-a-half years.
As proof, the V&A produced a letter dated May 13 2014, confirming “that the V&A have en- tered a lease agreement with Shimmy Beach Club for a period of 7.5 years from the commencement date of 10 December 2012”. But, according to Hennig, the construction of Shimmy started in August 2012 — five months before the lease date.
East Pier’s lease agreement required it to pay R500 000 towards “planning and development consents and approvals”.
Hennig conceded in a letter from his lawyer that Sundoo conceived the idea of Shimmy and that Lifman and Sundoo identified the site and applied for the lease.
However, Hennig’s trust declined to invest in the project “for a number of reasons, including that it did not wish to be associated with Lifman”.
But interviews with people close to Shimmy paint a different picture to the one presented by Hennig — sources say Lifman did indeed invest money in Shimmy “in the form of a loan that was paid back”.
“He [Lifman] made a cash loan . . . The lease from the Waterfront was in place to build and develop this funky beach restaurant . . . His loan was paid back. At the beginning, Lifman also provided security to Shimmy. It was no secret,” a source close to Shimmy said.
This person asked not to be named “fearing these guys”.
One of the unsolicited Werksmans e-mails to the Sunday Times said: “Shawn Mace, a well-known and experienced restaurateur . . . and Sundoo established a joint venture that Lifman was not involved in.”
This newspaper was unable to obtain this new company’s lease agreement with the Waterfront.
“The Waterfront was specifically told that Lifman was not involved in the new venture, which was a joint venture between Mace and Sundoo . . .
“On the basis that the barrier [Lifman’s involvement] was no longer an issue, Mace approached the Trust [Hennig’s] to invest in Shimmy. The trust agreed to invest in Shimmy,” said Hennig through Werksmans.
“Lifman has never held any shares, or claim for any shares, or had any stake whatsoever, in Shimmy,” said Hennig.
His lawyer said that the investment amount in Shimmy was “sensitive competitive in- formation”, adding that “the structure of the company is of no concern to you save that Mark Lifman is not involved at all.
“There are no proxy shareholders in Shimmy,” said the lawyer.

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Mark Lifman in "Cape Town’s underworld"

The Institute for Security Studies has done some research titled "Cape Town's underworld: Mapping a protection racket in the central business district" which we would like to quote here:

Specialised Protection Services

Shortly after Beeka’s death companies and networks were amalgamated that had previously been rivals and had been operating in various forms for decades. Former Beeka allies such as Jacques Cronje, some former ‘Maroccans’, including Housain Ait Taleb, and former rivals such as Andre Naude headed the security company. The company SPS (represented with the code PRBUSPS), was supposedly under the leadership of businessman Mark Lifman (code BUML), an infamous property developer, and was allegedly supported by the Booysen brothers, who were allegedly the leaders of a Cape Flats street gang known as the ‘Sexy Boys’. The development of this company was accompanied by serious threats and extortion as it muscled its way into the city’s security system.

The company was shut down a few months after its establishment because it did not register correctly with the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority, and Lifman and Naude faced 300 charges related to its illegal operation. However, payments (i.e. extortion) still continued, according to fieldwork interviews. The growth of SPS and its impact in the city centre led to large number of reports primarily published by Independent Newspapers that investigated the links among the various groups and the historical links with Beeka.

Two of the most notorious nodes associated with SPS were Mark Lifman and Jerome Booysen, the alleged backers of the company. It is believed that Lifman sought to take over Beeka’s operation in the Cape Town CBD after the latter’s death. Having already invested heavily in both property and entertainment venues in the CBD, it is thought that Lifman saw himself as the new ‘controller’ of the CBD, and the security racket that Beeka ran was extremely lucrative.

Lifman occupies a peculiar role as he is not part of any traditional criminal ‘gang’ and is instead a highly networked actor with links to high-ranking individuals who operate in both the criminal and legitimate business and entertainment sectors. Lifman has a vast business portfolio and owns a number of properties in the city and CBD, as well as a number of clubs and bars. His business interests also include several fashion labels, and he was recently reported to be interested in investing in the manufacturing of ‘cheap white’ cigarettes. He had also been involved in the horse-racing industry, before being banned by the Jockey Club after intimidating and assaulting a jockey with Yuri Ulianitski.

Lifman has a mutually beneficial relationship with Jerome Booysen and his brother Colin. Up to 2006 Jerome had been a city employee for 20 years and made a significant fortune with Lifman in property development, particularly in the suburb of Belhar, where the Sexy Boys operate. His previous position in the city administration was in the housing department, and although this was seen as a legitimate job, his family maintained violent and ruthless control of Belhar and he was accused of murder three times. His brother Michael, who as of January 2014 was serving a life sentence for murder, was seen as the previous leader of the gang and was suspected of being involved in over 50 murders during a bloody gang war when the brothers wanted to leave CORE, which was an agreement among various gang leaders drawn up in 1998. Jerome had previously held the position of CORE vice president, suggesting he was highly placed in the criminal hierarchy while in his position in the city housing department.

Booysen is widely regarded as the head of a violent gang and his support of Lifman allegedly enabled Lifman to try to ll the power vacuum created by Beeka’s death without using much violence. Jerome Booysen has recently come under further suspicion of organised crime because properties in his name have been used as drug laboratories. In the community of Belhar he is both notorious and feared. He is the head of the Belhar Rugby Club and has played a prominent role in the community.

What is noticeable about this particular group is that it is heavily invested in an array of businesses that provide for those involved, quite apart from being potential cover for laundering the proceeds of crime. While Booysen’s gang has also arguably taken on a ‘criminal governance’ role in the Belhar region, its potential to commit acts of violence has had an impact outside the geographic region where it is most involved.

When the speculation around SPS took place, Lifman and Booysen were also able to arrange a meeting with a former executive mayor of Cape Town and the current MEC responsible for community safety, Dan Plato. It is also known that Plato has on numerous occasions met with Booysen in Belhar, given Booysen’s influence in the area. This does not suggest a corrupt relationship, but rather illustrates the potential reach of Booysen’s social network into the political realm, and the social and economic influence actors like him wield