Fidentia kingpin tells all

The man at the centre of the Fidentia controversy, J Arthur Brown, broke his silence yesterday, describing the allegations against him as lies and pledging to fight back.

The man at the centre of the Fidentia controversy, J Arthur Brown, broke his silence yesterday, describing the allegations against him as lies and pledging to fight back.

In what the Cape Argus said was an exclusive interview, the group's chief executive told the newspaper: "I'm not afraid of anything. I've done more for this country than any of the people who have accused me. I'm going to aggressively start sorting out all these issues."

The Argus reported that Brown said the money alleged to be missing from the group, which could be as much as R680 million, was "still right there in those companies".

He described as "absolute hogwash" suggestions that he stole money or used trust funds for private spending sprees.

Brown did not, in the interview, comment directly on the plight of mineworkers' widows and orphans whose payments have reportedly been running dry, beyond saying: "We followed an investment strategy that we felt was best under the circumstances."

Moneyweb yesterday repor-ted that the curators of Fidentia had issued a letter to employees concerning their "contemplated dismissal". Em-ployees, it said, were not sure if they would get their February salaries.

The group has over 1000 employees, most of whom work for subsidiary companies ac-quired by Fidentia in the past few years. - Sapa

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