Click.  FBI monitored Beverly Hills meetings between South African attache and Dr. Larry Ford (of BioFem) and two other suspects.

Click. Auditor reveals web of companies operated by Basson and his lawyer, David Webster.

Click. GERM WARFARE EXPERT'S HELPERS EXPOSED!  The names of at least 24 countries on which chemical and biological warfare expert Wouter Basson spied are among details which the departments of defence and foreign affairs tried to keep from the public. Also included are the identities of several foreign businessmen and scientists who assisted him in his efforts and the names of local and international companies that were involved.



David Webster, an American tax attorney testifying in the Wouter Basson trial in Jacksonville, Florida, was today accused of sanctions-busting during the 1980s by Basson's defence team.

Webster helped Basson establish a group of companies in the 1980s and is testifying in connection with several fraud charges against the Pretoria chemical warfare expert.

During his evidence-in-chief, Webster was questioned at length about business deals, financial transactions and bank accounts pertaining to the WPW group of companies which he helped Basson establish in the Cayman Islands in 1986.

The State argues that Basson used these companies to defraud the apartheid government during the time Basson headed up its chemical and biological warfare programme.

Basson's defence accused Webster of knowing Basson was not merely a businessman, but an active and high-ranking apartheid defence force member in the early stages of their friendship.

Webster denied this. He also denied involvement in sanctions-busting.

Basson's defence also accused Webster of assisting the apartheid-era defence force by helping one General Hap Potgieter of the special forces to register a caravan plane in the United States as special forces would have had difficulty in using a South African-registered plane to fly over Africa.

Webster said he did not know Potgieter worked for the defence force and said he could not recall all the details.

Defence council also accused the state witness of involvement in another sanctions-busting operation involving the sale of South African-manufactured protective clothing to Iran and Iraq via Britain.

Webster told Judge Willie Hartzenberg that he viewed the transaction as a European one and did not view it as sanctions-busting as he never knew the clothing had been manufactured in South Africa. He said he did not violate US law at any stage.

Webster's cross-examination will continue in the local Jacksonville Federal Court. His wife Jane is also expected to take the stand before Judge Hartzenberg and the legal team returns to South Africa next week.


JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - The high profile trial of Dr Wouter Basson resumes today after a recess of two weeks - this time at the Jacksonville Courthouse in Florida in the United States.

The prosecution - advocate Anton Ackermann and Werner Bouwer - will lead the evidence of a key witness in the fraud related charges against Dr Basson.

American attorney David Webster is described as a hostile witness because of his refusal to testify in South Africa.

According to the Pretoria News, his evidence could prove vital for the prosecution in their bid to prove the 27 fraud charges against Dr Basson. Although the defence team of Advocate Jaap Cilliers, assisted by Advocate Tokkie van Zyl is expected to grill Mr Webster, Dr Basson himself will not be present.

The prosecution claim that Dr Basson, who was the project officer of Project Coast, South Africa's chemical and biological warfare programme during the 1980s, was the beneficial owner of numerous companies and that he allegedly pocketed more than R47-million belonging to the programme.

The chemical warfare expert is said to be persona non grata in America and will apparently be arrested if he attempts to enter the country.

Mr Cilliers earlier objected to the fact that the trial moved to America, arguing that it would be a waste of taxpayer's money. He also strongly objected to the fact that the trial will take place without his client being present.

He, however, conceded that he could discuss the evidence that was being led on a daily basis with Dr Basson via e-mail, fax or telephone in order to obtain Dr Basson's input.

Meetings With S. African Attache Under Scrutiny
Inquiry: FBI had monitored '80s events attended by three suspects in shooting of Irvine drug company executive.
By , , Los Angeles Times Staff Writers 7/17/00

     A series of meetings at the Beverly Hills home of South Africa's trade attache are now the focus of the probe into February's attempted slaying of an Irvine drug company executive.

     The encounters, which took place in the mid-1980s, are under scrutiny because investigators have discovered that all three named suspects in the Irvine shooting conspiracy attended the events, police said.

     In addition, the FBI, at the time, had become concerned enough about allegations that two of the suspects were involved in trying to supply South Africa with germ warfare materials that the agency monitored several of the suspects' meetings, according to sources close to the investigation.

     Detectives aren't sure what role, if any, these years-old meetings played in the alleged plot to murder Biofem Inc. CEO James Patrick Riley. But investigators expressed hope that the connections could help them unravel a 4-month-old inquiry that has yet to reveal either the gunman or a conclusive motive.

     The events at the Beverly Hills compound--which ranged from gala celebrations attended by dozens of people to informal gatherings around a wood-paneled bar--represent the strongest link yet between the Irvine shooting suspects and South Africa's biological warfare program.

     Dr. Larry Ford, who police say helped "mastermind" a plot to kill his Biofem Inc. business partner, has been identified by several South African researchers as an advisor to the military program.

     FBI agents regularly inquired about Ford's and another doctor's frequent visits to the home of South African trade official Gideon Bouwer, according to friends of the trade attache.

     Two of the friends--Peter Fitzpatrick and Tom Byron--said they told the FBI that Bouwer often discussed acquiring biological weapons with the help of Ford and others.

     There is no evidence that the discussion led to any weapons development, and the FBI never made any arrests.

     But 14 years later, in the wake of the Biofem shooting, the FBI launched a "weapons of mass destruction" probe when they searched Ford's Irvine home and found germs that cause cholera and typhoid fever. Sources said federal agents are trying to determine if Ford kept the germs for biological-warfare research.

     Ford committed suicide days after a masked gunman shot and wounded Riley.

     Prosecutors have charged businessman Dino D'Saachs, 56, with conspiracy to commit murder, alleging he drove the gunman to and from the scene of the shooting.

     Detectives have twice questioned Orange County surgeon Jerry D. Nilsson and say he has been cooperative. In court documents, police named Nilsson as a suspect in the case but have not revealed how they believe he was involved.

     Nilsson's attorney, Anthony P. Brooklier, said his client had nothing to do with the shooting of Riley. D'Saachs has pleaded not guilty to his alleged role in a plot.

     Police said they turned to the events of 14 years ago in an effort to prove that the three suspects--Ford, D'Saachs and Nilsson--had previously consorted with one other.

     Irvine investigators interviewed Fitzpatrick, Byron and others who visited Bouwer's house and learned that all three suspects were seen at the diplomat's home, police officials said.

     "These people have been associated for years," said Irvine Police Det. Victor Ray.

     Fitzpatrick and Byron said they met Ford during gatherings at Bouwer's Beverly Hills home. The attache hosted frequent parties, inviting American businessmen he hoped could provide South Africa with military intelligence or supplies despite an embargo, the two said.

     The surveillance came at the height of the U.S. arms embargo against South Africa and just as the apartheid-era regime was developing a covert biological warfare program.

     Fitzpatrick and Byron said they told federal authorities about a 1986 meeting at Bouwer's home that included Ford, Nilsson and a high-ranking South African official involved in the nation's biological weapons program. Bouwer bragged that Nilsson and Ford were supplying the official with germ warfare materials, Fitzpatrick and Byron said.

     Irvine detectives and an FBI spokesman declined to comment on the federal probe of Bouwer's activities. A law enforcement source familiar with the investigation said agents were unable to prove claims of embargo-busting.

     "They never could substantiate a thing on Ford and Nilsson," said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "They never got anything they could sink their teeth into."

     The South African foreign affairs spokesman said consular officials never heard of allegations involving Bouwer and biological weapons.

     The extent of Ford's relationship with South Africa's covert biological warfare program--code-named Project Coast--remains unclear.

     Two South African researchers said earlier this year that Ford lectured scientists on how to lace everyday items with biological agents.

     But former South African Surgeon General Niel Knobel, who served as administrative head of the program, has said Ford's role was limited to providing informal consultation on protecting troops against biological attacks.

     Knobel said he met Ford at Bouwer's Beverly Hills home once but maintained that Ford played no role in the development of biological weapons.

Copyright 2000 Los Angeles Times

Freedom of Express Institute

The report covers the period 24 January 2000 Monday to - 28 January 2000 Thursday 20

After a seven-week recess, the trial of Dr. Basson resumed in the  Pretoria High Court on Monday 24 January.  Forensic auditor, Hennie Bruwer, was the first witness. Bruwer is expected to give evidence in, chief for at least two weeks on the 400-page report he compiled following a six-year probe into alleged financial irregularities under the aegis of Project Coast. Bruwer's report is supported by documents relating to the companies allegedly established by Basson.

Bruwer told the court that investigators recovered evidence from  American lawyer David Webster's office, despite the normal  client-attorney privilege rule, and not with standing attempts by Webster, through the American courts, to prevent them gaining access. Details of  these court actions were not provided. The American courts decided in favour of the investigation team  and compelled Webster to open his files. Many of the documents retrieved contain notes and instructions in  Basson's handwriting, and appear to be explanatory and briefing notes to Webster during legal consultations regarding the establishment companies.

Bruwer said that he had found that many of the companies allegedly  established by Basson were used solely as a conduit for the transfer of  funds and had no assets. It was claimed that Basson was a shareholder in all the companies listed in the indictment .

An unsigned document, found in Webster's files, providing the background to the WPW Group of companies was presented in court. The document states that the WPW group was tasked by the Southern African Health Authorities with the establishment of clinics in a number of African countries. It also states that the group was involved in drug development. The report indicates that WPW had interests in the following areas:  

1.. Medical and Pharmaceutical development.=20  
2.. Data Management and Systems Development (in this regard mention is made of Data Image Pty Ltd, the company referred to in the 1998 TRC hearing into chemical and biological warfare as being responsible for capturing all technical project information on optical disk).
 3.. Aviation  4.. Financing and Investments  
5.. Property Investments
 6.. Leisure related activities  
7.. Trading (including close trading links having been developed  with North African countries).

Notes, handwritten by Basson found in David Webster's possession relating to off-shore companies and companies registered in South Africa were entered into the record. Documents found by Bruwer indicate that on October 29, 1989, before the privatization of Delta G Scientific was completed in August 1991, Medchem Consolidated Investments held 75% of the Delta G shares, reduced to 51% on completion of privatization. How MCI came to be the majority shareholder in a declared SADF front company six months before the April 1990 launch of the privatization scheme has not yet been explained.

Another note breaks down the shareholding of Protechnic as follows: 55% WPW Investments, 30% Charburn, 15% Jan Lourens. Lourens is named as the MD with Bernard Zimmer, Wynand Swanepoel and PW de Jager as directors. There is an additional note which says: NB: Wouter Basson owns one third of Charburn. Bruwer testified that the shareholding of Protechnic changed several times. He could not establish whether or not the proposed merger took place, but confirmed that Protechnic was subsequently sold to Armscor.

Bruwer testified that the Jetstar, (which the defence claimed last year had been purchased with funding transferred to a European account from Project Coast and earmarked for the purchase of the peptide synthesizer) was sold in December 1995 (three years after Basson was asked to resign from the military and two months after his reappointment to the SADF) for U$2-million, through David Webster. Bruwer found no evidence of a connection between the Jetstar and the peptide synthesizer deal.

Throughout the week the structure of the companies mentioned in the indictment and financial transactions in which these companies were involved was dealt with in great detail. The prosecution presented documents and statements by directors of the companies to support the documentation. 

On Tuesday the defence lodged an objection, pointing out that the Bruwer report is based on hearsay (in respect of statements taken from Zimmer, Van Remoortere, Antoinette Lourens and Webster, amongst others) and that the prosecutor would be compelled to call these people as witnesses if the defence were to accept the supporting documents. Otherwise, the defence warned, all the documentary evidence will be inadmissible. The defence had agreed that the documents be presented during Bruwer's testimony on condition that the State prove their authenticity by means of testimony from the parties directly involved. The defence said that until this was done they would dispute every document. On Friday the court was informed by the prosecution that key witnesses were not prepared to come to South Africa to give evidence and that international judicial channels would have to be pursued.

Much of Tuesday's evidence involved the perusal of the exchange of correspondence between Basson and Webster regarding fund transfers and the establishment of companies. 

On Wednesday 26 January Bruwer testified that he had discovered a deposit, on June 16, 1989, of =A322 101 into an account at Bank Indosuez, Luxembourg, held in the name of Wouter Basson, on which he and his wife at the time, Claudine van Remoortere, both had signing powers. This is the first time testimony has been presented to indicate that funds were placed in accounts held by Basson personally. Bruwer alleged that the money formed part of the R5,5-million transferred from Project Coast in April 1988 to what was believed to be the Luxembourg account of ABC Import/Export, and which Basson claims was used to pay for the 25 Chemical Agent Monitors bought in two batches by Aubin Heyndrickx and Roger Buffham, and the 150 portable field detection kits.

During the detailed examination of the flow of funds the defence  indicated that there was no intention on their behalf to dispute the  flow of funds, merely the purpose thereof and that detail of the type entered into was therefore unnecessary. Justice Hartzenberg responded by supporting the defence and instructed the prosecution to confine itself to the report prepared by Bruwer and not to deal with the supporting documentation unless absolutely necessary. The Judge made it clear that the matter in dispute is whether Basson had acted in accordance with his military orders.

Bruwer testified that the funds referred to the  first charge against  Basson were not used for the benefit of Project Coast. He said that he could find no evidence of delivery of any scientific equipment, despite assurances given to the Office for Serious Economic Offences by both the former Project Manager, Gen. Knobel and project external auditor Pierre Theron that this is what the funds were used for. Bruwer claims to have established that neither the auditor, Pierre Theron nor Brigadier Hein  Chief of  Staff  Finance made any attempt to verify the purchase or inspect the merchandise.

Evidence presented by Bruwer on Thursday indicated that WPW Investments Inc had several accounts. One, opened in London in 1989, gave individual signing powers to Basson and David Webster. Bank documents show that the beneficial owner of all assets deposited in the account is Mr. Wouter Basson, Pretoria, SA. Evidence was also presented that  WPW had a US dollar account and another specifically for Hong Kong dollars at Credit Suisse in Zurich.The case will continue next week with the testimony of Bruwer.

This report has been prepared by Chandre Gould and Marlene Burger. Chandre  Gould is a research associate at the Centre for Conflict Resolution working on the Chemical and Biological Warfare Research Project. Marlene Burger is monitoring the trial  as part of the CCR Chemical and Biological Warfare Research Project. The Chemical and Biological Warfare Research Project is funded by the Ford Foundation, the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and the Norwegian Government.     

Germ Warfare Expert's Helpers Exposed

                        The names of at least 24 countries on which
                        chemical and biological warfare expert Wouter
                        Basson spied are among details which the
                        departments of defence and foreign affairs tried to
                        keep from the public.

Story Filed: Friday, March 12, 1999 09:14 PM EST

Pretoria (Business Day, March 12, 1999) - The names of at least 24 countries on which chemical and biological warfare expert Wouter Basson spied are among details which the departments of defence and foreign affairs tried to keep from the public.

Also included are the identities of several foreign businessmen and scientists who assisted him in his efforts and the names of local and international companies that were involved.

A February 1997 court transcript giving some information about SA's Project Coast was released for publication this week after a two-year court battle. Project Coast was a covert chemical and biological warfare programme started by the SA Defence Force under Basson's leadership in the early 1980s and allegedly scrapped in 1992.

The court battle was waged by Business Day, its sister newspaper the Sunday Times and the Freedom of Expression Institute against the state, the two departments and the Council for the Nonproliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction. The release of the transcript of evidence by Basson during a bail application followed the withdrawal by the state last week of its 1997 claim that it was not in the interests of state security that the information be made public.

At the time it was argued that foreign nationals and companies had assisted Basson during the 1980s to obtain information and technology needed for the development of SA's chemical and biological warfare programme and that the identities of those involved should be protected at all costs. "Basson's life and the lives of those who had been identified by him in his testimony would be in danger should details become public knowledge," it was argued at the time.

Basson will face at least 50 criminal charges in the Pretoria High Court later this year, ranging from fraud and conspiracy to murder. The sudden change of attitude by the government department towards the release of the transcript came a few days before the department of defence had a Swiss television journalist, Jean-Phillippe Ceppi, arrested for being in possession of "highly classified" documents dealing with Project Coast.

The charges against Ceppi were withdrawn after the truth commission admitted it had given the journalist the information. "For years I moved around in different countries in Europe, the US ... the Far East and the mid-East to obtain technology in a manner which would not have been accepted by those I obtained the information from," Basson testified.

There was virtually not a European country he had not visited, the court heard. "I was busy with espionage, I was busy obtaining information for the SA Defence Force and I believe that very few countries would accept espionage against their industries."

Testifying about front companies established by Project Coast, Basson said there were "four or five, maybe six, but there were also private companies contracted to participate in the project".

The companies mentioned included Blowing Rock Controlling, Blowing Rock Investment, the Wisdom group and Organochem. Infladel was mentioned as a front company which had financial and administrative control over Project Coast.

Aviation companies that used to spend the R800000 annual transportation budget of the project were identified as WPW Aviation and Aeromet. Basson also had connections with individuals in several countries.

They included businessman Wilfred Mole, whose UK offices were used for some work relating to Project Coast, a Mr. Zimmer in Luxembourg, a Swiss pharmacologist named only as Dr Choe, US attorney David Webster and Russian interpreter Estinev Sergei, who could speak seven languages. Basson also spent some time with Belgian businessman Jean-Pierre Senaib at his home during the 1980s to "negotiate a certain connection with the Belgian defence force", the court heard.

Locally, the names which were kept secret for two years by the state included advocate Chris Marlow, who was legal adviser to pharmaceutical manufacturing company Delta G, and Jerry Brand, said to have been connected to Organochem. A part of the agreement reached between the state and the media lawyers last week was an undertaking by the Transvaal director of prosecutions Jan D'Oliveira that he would strive to hold all future criminal proceedings against Basson in open court.

However, should a request for in-camera evidence be made, media lawyers would be granted sufficient time to consider opposing such a move.

Copyright © 1999 Business Day. Distributed via Africa News Online.