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S AFRICA: Russian clings to Hazendal Estate

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The Russian owner of the historical Hazendal Estate, near Stellenbosch, says he has a new bank deal to refinance a loan he took from Standard Bank, but says the latter is still insisting on closing him down.

Dr Mark Voloshin says the winery's assets have been frozen since February. He claims he cannot understand why the bank wants to rescind its agreement after granting him a lone of R10m in the mid-1990s.

According to affidavits handed into the Cape High Court earlier this year it was claimed that the estate's liabilities at the beginning of 2001 exceeded R43m.

In January, Voloshin owed Standard Bank R6.6m. Voloshin claims he has reduced this to R3.2m.

Voloshin said that Standard Bank last year insisted that he put the estate on auction, but he rejected the paltry R17m offered, believing the property to be worth between R40 and R50m.

He says he has finalised a deal with another South African bank, ABSA, to refinance his Standard Bank loan. He claims he has another R1.4m in a First National Bank account, but that too has been frozen.

Other offshore funds, which he says he wants to bring in, are not being transferred to South Africa because he fears the same thing will happen.

Standard Bank has refuted these allegations saying it is not dragging its heels.


Sectors: Wine

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