South Africa


Igor ‘the Russian’ joins cohort of alleged underworld figures linked to ‘steroid king’ murder

Igor ‘the Russian’ joins cohort of alleged underworld figures linked to ‘steroid king’ murder
From left: Jerome ‘Donkie’ Booysen, Igor Russol, known as 'Igor the Russian', and Mark Lifman. (Photos: Gallo Images / Die Burger / Adrian de Kock // Supplied // Gallo Images / Die Burger / Adrian de Kock)

The web of alleged underworld figures linked to the murder of ‘steroid king’ Brian Wainstein has widened. Igor Russol, known as the ‘Russian of Cape Town’, has been added as accused number 16 on the indictment.

Igor Russol joins other three other alleged underworld figures – Mark Lifman, alleged Sexy Boys gang boss Jerome “Donkie” Booysen and Andre Naude – in the Wainstein murder case.

Russol was arrested on Tuesday, 26 July by the Hawks, after which he appeared briefly in the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court on charges ranging from conspiracy to commit murder, gang-related charges and contravention of the Firearms Control Act. He was released on bail of R15,000.

Hawks spokesperson Katlego Mogale said: “His arrest comes after the execution of a warrant for his arrest on 26 July. He was indicted to appear in the Cape Town High Court on 5 August 2022 along with Lifman and other accused who are already appearing in the high court.”

Jerome ‘Donkie’ Booysen leaves the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court on 22 December 2020. (Photo: Adrian de Kock)

The other accused in the matter are Sea Point police sergeant and former Anti-Gang Unit (AGU) detective Wayne Henderson, Sam Farquharson, Jakobus Stevens, Egan Norman, Anthony Amier van der Walt, Ricardo Maarman, Typhyene Jantjies, Beven Cedric Ezaus, Bradley de Bula, Kashief Hanslo, Rowendal Stevens and Ismail Cupido.

Read more in Daily Maverick: “‘Steroid King’ murder trial will lay bare the reign of terror by Cape Town’s underworld figures

According to court papers, Henderson agreed to accept R100,000 from Farquharson to help Matthew Breedt, then a suspect in the Wainstein murder, to avoid prosecution.

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Charges against murdered ‘Steroid King’ reveal a global web of crime cases

Wainstein was shot dead in his luxurious home in Constantia, Cape Town, on 18 August 2017. He was killed in front of his partner and two-year-old child. Prosecutors contend that alleged crime boss Lifman financed the murder and that he and others benefited from the illegal steroid business, which continued after Wainstein’s killing.

Underworld ties

Russol, who was born in Odessa, Ukraine, is no stranger to the murky underworld in South Africa. He had ties with underworld kingpin Yuri “the Russian” Ulianitski, who was murdered on 21 May 2007 in Milnerton, Cape Town.

Lawyer William Booth (left) and businessman Mark Lifman leave the Bellville Magistrates’ Court on 9 February 2018. (Photo: Gallo Images / Die Burger / Adrian de Kock)

AGU detective, Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear, who was assassinated in front of his house in Bishop Lavis on 18 September 2020, mentioned Russol’s name two years earlier in the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court during a trial relating to extortion in nightclubs.

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Assassinations and conspiracies: The web of violence surrounding Cape Town’s bouncer wars is unravelling in court

Modack and Booysen (brother of Jerome Booysen), Jacques Cronje, Ashley Fields and Carl Lakay were in the dock in that case. Kinnear testified that after lawyer Noorudien Hassan was shot and killed in Lansdowne on 7 November 2016, Modack is alleged to have contacted Russol in Ukraine and asked him to return to South Africa to work for him. He did return and stayed at Modack’s Plattekloof house, the court heard.

Alleged underworld figure Mark Lifman, facing charges of conspiracy to commit murder and released on R100,000 bail, leaves the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, 22 December 2021. (Photo: Supplied)

On Friday, 9 July 2022, the axed former head of Western Cape detectives, Mayor-General Jeremy Vearey, authenticated Kinnear’s January 2018 testimony. “At that [time] Kinnear worked under my supervision and I was also aware of what he said in court. I was fully aware of the investigation, and what was said about Russol is the truth,” he said.

Before Wainstein’s murder there was an attempt on the life of suspected gang boss Ralph Stanfield on 6 July 2017. The State claims this was because of his close association with Wainstein.

Booysen, alleged 27s gang boss William “Red” Stevens and Lifman were arrested on 23 December 2020 in connection with Wainstein’s murder and released on R100,000 bail. But on 1 February 2021, Stevens was gunned down execution-style in front of his home in Kraaifontein.

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Clampdown upends underworld: Three suspects arrested in connection with a global steroid smuggler’s murder

Another accused, Jason Maits, who was released on R5,000 bail in February 2021, and was the second person arrested in connection with Wainsten’s murder, was shot and killed in front of his house on Pruim Street, Mitchells Plain, at 9am on Friday, 5 March 2021.

‘Steroid King’ Brian Wainstein was murdered in 2017. (Photo: Interpol)

At the time of those two murders, Western Cape National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said the killings would not derail the investigation into the murder of Wainstein.

Mogale added that three people have already been sentenced in connection with the murder: Matthew Breet, a former security company co-owner, was sentenced to 20 years behind bars in December 2018 following a plea and sentence agreement with the State; Cheslyn Adams and Fabian Cupido received 25 years each.

Russol and the other accused are due back in the Western Cape High Court on 5 August 2022. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options