Mobile exec’s lawyers bring the heat during trial

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Cape Town — The trial of mobile company founder Anthony Goodman continued in the Cape Town Regional Court on Wednesday where the defence grilled the former managing director of a financing company, questioning him about the business practices of his associates.

The State alleged that Goodman as the chief executive of AG Cellular (AGC) had under false pretences obtained funds from a trade financing company to assist in financing the movement of goods from China to South Africa.

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Before the company went into liquidation, Goodman maintained a reputation as an innovative entrepreneur who changed the retail mobile industry by going up against mobile giants in supplying low-cost mobile phones to retailers such as Pep and MTN.

The complainants in this matter consist of representatives from three companies, all of whom played a role in facilitating the funds given to AGC between August 2015 and August 2016, in order to finance the shipment of a purchase order valued at over R118 million at the time.

Goodman has pleaded not guilty to the charges and his position as stated in his plea explanation is that at no stage did he withhold any information about the company and that the financiers were at all times involved and aware concerning the running of AGC.

Goodman’s advocate Laurance Hodes SC, while questioning Ralph Hoffman, who represented a financier at the time, asked him if there was oversight on the part of the company when approving the funds prior to receiving financial audits.

Hoffman said: “We are happy, again it depends on the facts and circumstances of each facility but we have approved facilities on management accounts with annual financial statements to follow.”

Hoffman also confirmed throughout the relationship, financier David Salzman had a discretion premised upon the documentation presented to him to increase or decrease funds.

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Outside court, Goodman’s fiancée Ekaterina Elena said he was being “persecuted” as the only accused standing trial in this matter. She said that Goodman would rise above this after it was revealed in court that he lost his mother’s home due to litigation.

She said: “It hasn’t just impacted our lives, it’s taken over our lives … They took every material thing from him and tried to destroy his name and all that I can say is that the truth will prevail.

“Anthony is the most honourable, kindest human I’ve ever met and everyone who has ever worked for him or truly knows him will say that and I truly believe that his time will come, when he will be able to tell his full story.”

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