While you were asleep: Who really is the wolf in sheep’s clothing?

The chickens have come home to roost for notorious US short-seller Viceroy. The group’s “research” reports have driven down share prices of many a South African company, including Aspen PharmacareResilient Reit and Nepi Rockcastle. But it was its relentless attack on one of South Africa’s biggest banks Capitec that turned the tables on the “group of individuals that see the world differently”. 

The Financial Services Conduct Authority slapped it with a R50m fine and gave it 30 days to pay up after its three-year investigation showed that Viceroy, the “investigative financial research firm” run by Fraser John Perring, Aiden Lau and Gabriel Bernarde benefitted from a profit-sharing arrangement with one of its clients who had taken a short position in Capitec. 

Viceroy is not taking it laying down. The trio said they will not be the scapegoat for the FSCA’s censure, prejudice and protecting the bank.  

But the Capitec attack wasn’t Viceroy’s first attack on a South African company. In fact, its Capitec report came on the coattails of the Steinhoff report that made it relevant. Back then, in early 2018, Biznews founder Alec Hogg warned against fake news and those who seek to profit from manipulating messages to their own benefit

A later Intellidex report also called into question Viceroy’s legitimacy as a market analyser, saying that the group may have plagiarised the Steinhoff report that gave it legitimacy and gave it relevance in South Africa. After all, their report outlining abnormalities in Steinhoff’s financials did appear a day after the retailer unexpectedly admitted to accounting irregularities.

Makes you think who is the wolf in sheep’s clothing really? 

Here’s a roundup of the world’s top and most interesting headlines:

SA Business  
‘I placed Zuma on medical parole’: prisons boss Arthur Fraser – Sowetan Live 
Here’s how Johannesburg security cameras track you – Daily Maverick 
South Africa has a new favourite mobile service provider – which could change the game for MTN and Vodacom – BusinessTech 

Global Business 
Richest 5% of Americans ‘choose not to pay’ $307 billion in taxes each year, Treasury reports – Forbes 
Inequality has cost the US nearly $23 trillion since 1990 – Bloomberg 
World’s biggest machine capturing carbon from air turned on in Iceland – The Guardian 

Chinese gaming stocks tumble after regulators summon firms – Reuters 
Bitcoin on cusp of a bull market that could run to end of year, even with this week’s meltdown: Kraken – Business Insider 
China’s season of stock market turbulence continues: A timeline – Bloomberg 

Conservationist vs David Mabuza: Court hears evidence of massive land claims fraud – Daily Maverick 
COVID-19: It’s time to look at the finer details of South Africa’s pandemic picture – The Conversation 
Views from on high in the billionaire space race – FT.com

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