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Kenny swaps sushi for wine

2012-08-05 15:30
Johannesburg - Has Kenny Kunene traded in his sushi lifestyle to become a wine farmer?

Ex-convict and nightclub king Kunene is at the centre of the ­purchase of a prized Western Cape wine farm once owned by a ­notorious tax dodger.

Kunene and Ukrainian businessman Denys Aloshyn arrived at Quoin Rock Vineyards near Cape Agulhas and submitted the winning bid of R13m for the farm.

When asked this week by City Press if he had bought Quoin Rock, Kunene said: “Yes.”

He said he was on family business in the Free State and promised to provide City Press with ­more details about the purchase, but didn’t answer his phone again.

However, Kunene celebrated his new acquisition on Twitter.

On 28 July  he tweeted: “Thanx 2all who wished me well, I became the highest bidder @da auction n got the farm. God is great.”

Quoin Rock consists of two farms: the 3 000ha farm near Cape Agulhas that Kunene and Aloshyn bought, and the 194ha Quoin Rock Wine Estate near Stellenbosch.

According to the purchase agreement, the Cape Agulhas farm was sold to a South African company with Aloshyn as the purchaser.

Offshore company

The company is registered in the name of, among others, Cape Town chartered accountant Dale Irvine, who said he’d been asked by an offshore company to do the transaction.

Irvine initially said he had never heard of Aloshyn and did not know what Kunene’s involvement was, but later called back to say the offshore company was ­based in Mauritius, and had commissioned Kunene and Aloshyn to purchase on its behalf.

The wine estate was at the centre of the Auction Alliance scandal earlier this year when billionaire businesswoman Wendy Appelbaum bought the Stellenbosch farm for R55m.

She later disputed the legality of the sale, and said she believed she had been the only genuine bidder at the auction and that she had in effect been bidding against herself.

Auction Alliance founder Rael Levitt stepped down as chief executive during the controversy.

Irvine said that the offshore company had instructed Kunene and his partner to buy the Stellenbosch Quoin Rock wine farm too.

The Stellenbosch property is estimated to be worth between R60m and R80m, and is to be sold by tender this month.

The Cape Agulhas farm has two houses, a renovated wine tasting venue and 23ha of prized vineyard.

People who attended the auction said Aloshyn and Kunene did the bidding together and left together.


Quoin Rock was previously owned by tax dodger Dave King and the auction was part of the attempt by the SA Revenue Service (Sars) to recover his tax debt.

Sars attached Quoin Rock from King in July last year.

The North Gauteng High Court found in 2002 that King owed Sars R1.4bn in unpaid taxes.

Kunene stepped into the limelight as the co-owner of ZAR nightclub in Sandton.

The club was frequented by the rich and famous, and Kunene became infamous for eating sushi off the bodies of semi-naked women and for throwing lavish parties in his own honour.

He was widely condemned by Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi for flaunting his wealth in the faces of millions of poor people in South Africa.

Kunene, who spent six years in prison for fraud, has in the meantime closed ZAR in Johannesburg, although the club in Green Point, Cape Town, is still open.

Kunene was a guest of honour at the wedding of President Jacob Zuma’s daughter Duduzile and is often seen partying with ANC politicians.

It was Kunene’s company that recently organised the ANC’s Northern Cape conference.

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