Two more Spar executives face possible charges of fraud and perjury for their involvement in the alleged unlawful takeover of Spar supermarkets owned and operated by the Giannacopoulos Group that owns the Sediba Superspar.
“Five senior management members has now been implicated in this brazen corporate ploy to destroy a family business.In December 2022, AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit helped Chris Giannacopoulos and his family’s group of companies to file criminal complaints of fraud and perjury against executives in Gauteng. Now, Harry Giannacopoulos has filed an additional criminal complaint on Wednesday,” said Afriforum in a statement. It is alleged that the Spar Group, through its executives, falsely claimed in affidavits in 2019 that companies in the Giannacopoulos Group owed it money in order to convince the courts to grant the Spar Group control over the supermarkets owned by the family’s companies. These alleged misrepresentations were confirmed by the very same High Courts when the Giannacopoulos Group successfully challenged the unlawful takeover bid. “Two of the implicated parties who filed affidavits in the legal matters in 2019 are Spar’s managing director Desmond Borrageiro and chief executive Brett Botten. The former chairperson of the Spar Group, Graham O’Conner, signed certificates of balance in support of summonses. The alleged misrepresentations – attributed to ignorance by their legal team – have been admitted by some of the suspects and described as an “honest and unfortunate mistake”. Now, Spar CEO Max Oliva, Spar human resources director Martin Conradie and O’Conner have been identified as suspects in a similar scheme in KwaZulu Natal. The cases were filed in separate provinces because of the jurisdiction of the stores affected. “Spar acted criminally and unethically against my family, and we want justice to take its course,” said Harry Giannacopoulos. “We were approached by the Giannacopoulos Group because of the skills and expertise that we offer in order to deal with what may be perceived as corporate bullying. The impact of the alleged false statements and misrepresentations in court papers has been immeasurable, not only financially but emotionally too. We have been briefed to monitor the matter and to consider private prosecution should the National Prosecuting Authority fail to prosecute,” said Adv. Gerrie Nel, Head of AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit. The Giannacopolous Group’s attorney of record, Mary Erlank was relieved at reaching this milestone in the protracted battle against the Spar Group. “It has been a long road of litigation, and through it all the Giannacopoulos family never lost focus on their core values and principles in business and maintained and acted with integrity and unity. A remarkable family that showed tenacity and endurance,” she said.