19 July 2024 | 06:56 AM

Cheating the law

Key Takeaways

When the doors open for tributes to pour in, they will be wide enough for hard truths to come out. Teazers kingpin Emmanuel “Lolly” Jackson built an empire on the back of the strip-club industry and the way he went about it was as unethical as they come, with allegations of trafficking foreign girls, paying off contacts in home affairs and laundering money.

He hung out with the wrong crowds and corrupted the right ones. Finally, it killed him.

On Monday evening he was shot, allegedly by one of the people helping him to launder money between South Africa and the Laiki Bank of Cyprus.

But even before the fatal bullets, his past was catching up with him. Two sources have said that police were soon going to arrest Jackson for money-laundering.

This first surfaced publicly in a case earlier this year in which Jackson was suing former local Laiki Bank boss Alekos Panayi for stealing money from him. Panayi shot back, saying that he had been helping Jackson to launder foreign currency since 2007.

Panayi exposed a laundering syndicate, which he claimed in an affidavit involved himself, Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir, Jackson and his alleged killer, George Smith.

In Panayi’s affidavit he lists transfers totalling millions that he undertook for Jackson “without following the requisite exchange control procedures and without the knowledge or consent of the Reserve Bank or the South African Revenue Service”.

The first of these transfers was for Jackson’s exotic R15-million Pagani Zonda car, imported from Singapore.

Panayi says he later introduced Jackson to Smith and Krejcir.

According to the evidence, Krejcir needed Smith, who was Cypriot born, to front for him by opening a bank account in Cyprus. Krejcir could not do it in his own name.

Krejcir is wanted by the Czech authorities for fraud and conspiracy to commit murder. He escaped to the Seychelles in 2005 and subsequently to South Africa in 2007.

An extradition order against him was rejected in 2008 by the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court and the national prosecuting authority is trying to obtain a date to have the judgement reviewed.

Krejcir’s attorney, Ian Small-Smith, did not respond to questions.

George Smith was a lone ranger in South Africa — he used pseudonyms and gave other people’s addresses and phone numbers as his own.

For a while, his registered address was that of Krejcir’s Bedfordview house. Most recently he lived at the home of a Greek businessman in Edenvale — the same house where Jackson was shot.

Until Monday Jackson had led a charmed life.

In 2006 a 400-page police dossier with affidavits on Jackson’s alleged corruption of a government official went missing.

When it eventually turned up, nothing was done, despite allegations that Jackson had Alan Wheeler, a compliance manager at the Johannesburg Metro, in his pocket and had bought him a Honda motorbike worth R40 000.

In return, it was alleged, Wheeler fought on Jackson’s side in the war against competitor strip clubs, including filing an application to the High Court in 2003 to try to close one of clubs, the Lounge. But the judge found that he was not, in fact, authorised to bring this application.

Before his death Jackson told amaBhungane he felt that his relationship with Wheeler was not improper. “I bought the bike for his son, not for Alan,” he said. “He has two very talented sons, who do off-roading. Wheeler could not help me in any way. He couldn’t help me with zoning and licences.”

Wheeler was not availabl to comment.

AmaBhungane has also seen false visas for Eastern European dancers which show that Jackson had been filling the pockets of at least one person in the department of home affairs.

AmaBhungane has seen statements by a number of former foreign Teazers’ dancers describing how they were trafficked to South Africa under false pretences.

One Bulgarian dancer said she was abused by her “agent”, but could not leave because “Lolly had my passport … for ‘safekeeping’ … I was very scared because I had heard many times that Lolly Jackson had paid cops and other people to do whatever needed to be done.”

Home affairs declined to comment.

But Jackson was killed before the dirt really hit the fan — and it seems that many other people’s skeletons will be buried with him.

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Before joining the amaBhungane team in 2017, Micah was the national coordinator for media freedom and diversity at the Right2Know Campaign. He holds a Masters in African Studies from Oxford University and a BA Honours in History from Wits University.

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