'Petersen never dealt in diamonds'

Slain entertainer Taliep Petersen had not been involved in any illicit diamond transactions, the Wynberg regional court in Cape Town heard yesterday.

Slain entertainer Taliep Petersen had not been involved in any illicit diamond transactions, the Wynberg regional court in Cape Town heard yesterday.

Captain Wayne van Tonder of the Western Cape organised crime unit said this had emerged from his investigation into the matter.

He was testifying during a new bail application by Petersen's widow, Najwa Petersen, who is in custody awaiting trial for his murder.

Van Tonder was shown an entry in Taliep's diary which had suspiciously referred to "three stones" and US$3,5 million (about R21 million) profit that the stones would give the buyer.

Van Tonder said he had discussed the entry with the Kimberley chief of the gold and diamond branch, who had said the terminology used in the diary entry was not that used in illicit diamond transactions.

He said the diary entry also referred to the weight of the stones as one ton each, which was impossible, and a 24-month contract.

Van Tonder said he had discussed the entry with the authorities at the De Beers diamond group, and they also had ruled out the entry as a reference to illicit diamond deals.

He had also examined Taliep Petersen's bank statements over a period of years, and all the transactions reflected on the statements had been normal and above suspicion.

The application continues on December 6. - Sapa

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