Sunday, 14 June 2020

WE HAVE BEEN ELBOWED OUT : TYCOON'S CHILDREN


The fight for control of Waverley Blankets founder Victor Cohen’s estate is still raging three years after his death and now his children say their relatives, who allegedly grabbed his companies want them arrested.

Cohen’s daughters Amanda Berkowitz and Belynda Halfon accuse their relative Debra Vico and her son Aron Vico of illegally taking over their father’s companies and elbowing them out of the sprawling empire using fraudulent means.

The Vicos allegedly took control of Cohen’s companies following his death in August 2017 at the age of 78.

Cohen, who was the founder of textile giant Waverley Blankets, made two of his daughters Berkowitz and Halfon, directors in his several companies that included Cone Textiles, which was liquidated.

Berkowitz and Halfon are now fighting in the courts to regain control of Waverley Plastics after it was allegedly taken over by Aron.

The two sisters say Aron is now trying to silence them by laying false criminal charges against them.

Aron allegedly lodged a police report against them in December 2019 where he accused them of forging signatures on documents for one of their companies, Centracom Limited.

The documents pertained to a resolution allegedly signed by Berkowitz and Halfon ceding approximately 12% each of their 33% shareholding.

“They are now trying to use this fake resolution form against us and we are technically under arrest,” Berkowitz said.

“Halfon was threatened with extradition by Interpol from Cape Town. This is despite the fact that we have 100% proof that no such meeting took place.

“Even so, we have now had to give signature samples.

“Forensic analysis from similar documents for Blankets for Africa and Colourfast Textile Printers has proven that my signature and that of my father were forged.” 

She added: “After months of trying to procure information from Vico and Boddapati, Halfon’s accountant eventually received resolutions for two companies in early 2019 from Vico’s lawyer for Blankets for Africa and Colourfast Textile Printers.

“The resolutions purported to have been signed by Halfon and I reflected that we signed away shares in the said companies.

“None of the new shareholders signed these documents and we insist these are forgeries.”

The two sisters who are shareholders in their fathers’ host of companies, said they discovered that Aron and his alleged accomplices currently running the businesses fraudulently changed some of the companies’ shareholding structure without their knowledge and authorisation.

They said they had been requesting company documents and financials from Aron and Lashimikanth Boddapati, the company secretary, as they were shareholders but the duo refused to release them following the death of their father.

Halfon is said to have sent her accountant to Harare to resolve the shareholding issues, but Boddapati and Aron allegedly refused to release information on her shareholding.

Berkowitz said since their father’s death, they had not received their dividends as shareholders or any company information.

“To date we have not received a penny from our rightful companies,” she said.

“Vico, Boddapati and Marco Faccio have assumed shares in these companies under irregular means.

“They have tried their best to strip us of everything using every means.” Berkowitz and Halfon are now challenging the “new 2015 CR2” shareholding structure of Centracom at the High Court.

Aron refused to comment on the matter. Standard

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