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‘Steroid King’ Brian Wainstein murder — two alleged underworld figures plead not guilty

‘Steroid King’ Brian Wainstein murder — two alleged underworld figures plead not guilty
From left: Alleged gang boss Jerome Booysen. (Photo: Supplied) | ‘Steroid King’ Brian Wainstein was murdered in 2017. (Image: Interpol) | Businessman Mark Lifman. (Photo: Gallo Images / Die Burger / Adrian de Kock).

Jerome ‘Donkie’ Booysen, the alleged leader of the Sexy Boys gang, and Mark Lifman are the main accused in the murder trial, which began on Monday in the Western Cape High Court.

Alleged Sexy Boys gang boss Jerome “Donkie” Booysen and alleged underworld figure Mark Lifman have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to murder “Steroid King” Brian Wainstein.

wainstein lifman

Alleged underworld figure Mark Lifman, accused of murdering steroid King Brian Wainstein on 18 August 2017, enters the Western Cape High Court on Monday, 22 April 2024. (Photo: Vincent Cruywagen)

wainstein booysen

Alleged Sexy Boys gang boss Jerome Booysen, accused of murdering steroid king Brian Wainstein on 18 August 2017, enters the Western Cape High Court on Monday, 22 April 2024. (Photo: Vincent Cruywagen)

Booysen and Lifman are the main accused in the murder trial, which began on Monday in the Western Cape High Court before Judge Vincent Saldanha.

The trial was one of three high-profile cases heard in the Western Cape High Court on Monday. In the other two trials:

  • Nafiz Modack and 14 others appeared in connection with the murder of the Anti-Gang Unit’s Lieutenant Colonel Charl Kinnear; and
  • 13 alleged Terrible Joster gang members faced multiple counts of murder, attempted murder and drug trafficking.

Heavily armed police were in and around the courtrooms where these cases were heard, and outside the court building. Traffic officers cordoned off all streets surrounding the court. Lifman and Booysen’s bodyguards accompanied the two to a coffee shop opposite the court and ensured they were safely escorted out of court.

Lifman and Booysen, with co-accused Andre Naude, Sam Farquharson, Egan Morgan, alleged corrupt police detective Wayne Henderson, Ricardo Maarman, Typhenne Jantjies, Bevan Ezaus, Bradley de Bula, Kashief Hanslo, Rowendal Stevens, Ismail Cupido and a Russian, Igor Russol, are charged with 36 counts of murder, attempted murder, intimidation, gang activities, the illegal possession of ammunition and firearms, contravention of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, contributing towards gang activity and aiding and abetting criminal activities.

wainstein naude russol

Andre Naude (front) and Igor Russol (rear), face a count of conspiracy to murder Nafiz Modack and seven others in November 2017. (Photo: Vincent Cruywagen)

The murder charge stems from Wainstein’s death in August 2017. He was shot at his home in Constantia, Cape Town, in front of his partner and their two-year-old child. Prosecutors claim that Lifman paid to have Wainstein killed and that he and others profited from the illegal steroid trade, which continued after Wainstein’s death.

A former co-accused in the case, William “Red” Stevens, an alleged 27s gang boss, was killed in front of his home in Kraaifontein on 1 February 2021. He was arrested with Lifman and Booysen in December 2020 in connection with Wainstein’s murder. They were released on R100,000 bail.

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

Monday’s proceedings began with State prosecutor Nathan Adriaanse reading out the 36 charges.

The State claims Wainstein was an organised crime figure who dealt in illegal steroids.

A State witness, whose name cannot be revealed, claims that Lifman and Wainstein clashed over investment and property deals.

Plot to murder Wainstein

According to prosecutors, Lifman was overheard discussing a plan to kill Wainstein about three months before his murder. Another conversation followed, allegedly with Booysen, during which the killing of Wainstein was also discussed.

“On 29 June 2017, a meeting of illegal steroid dealers was organised by Booysen at his home. The dealers complained to Booysen that Wainstein was a threat to them and their business.

“At that meeting, Booysen assured them that Wainstein would be taken care of,” said the substantial summary of facts, which was read into the court record.

Before Wainstein’s murder, an attempt was made on the life of alleged 28s gang boss Ralph Stanfield, who the State claims was a close associate of Wainstein. According to the State, Wainstein suspected Lifman of arranging the attempt.

The court was told that in the presence of State witnesses, Lifman agreed to pay for Wainstein’s murder. It is alleged that Lifman said he was unwilling to pay more than R250,000 because he had paid R500,000 for the unsuccessful hit on Stanfield.

Attempts to kill Modack

According to court papers, Booysen, Lifman and their allies made three attempts to kill alleged underworld figure Nafiz Modack and his associates Colin Booysen (Jerome’s brother), Carl Lakay, Ashley Fields, Emile Goodley and former Springbok rugby player James Dalton.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Cape Town cop arrested — and ex-Springbok player James Dalton named as murder target in growing ‘underworld’ case

The attempt to kill Modack allegedly stemmed from the competition he posed to a group consisting of Lifman, Jerome Booysen, Naude and Colin Booysen, known as the “brotherhood”, who controlled Cape Town’s nightclub and entertainment security industry.

At a meeting on 26 May 2019, it is alleged that Colin Booysen and Kishor Naidoo, allegedly an associate of Lifman, got into a fight at the Coco Bar, during which firearms were displayed. Colin Booysen allegedly complained about bringing the Hollanders (27s gang members) to the club and he blamed the problems on his brother, Jerome.

On 27 November 2016, a violent altercation broke out at the Coco Bar, injuring Colin Booysen, Waseem Chaudry, Niyaaz Janordien and Booysen’s bodyguard.

The State claims there was ongoing conflict over the “brotherhood”, with Colin Booysen accusing his brother Jerome of stealing from him. The State also claims that Naude was tasked with negotiating Colin Booysen’s departure from the group, which was completed in November 2016.

According to court documents, a new group led by Modack and Colin Booysen then took over security at entertainment venues and clubs that had been controlled by the older group.

The State claims that at one meeting, Lifman expressed his desire to regain control of the clubs through force and intimidation. The late William Stevens allegedly promised to provide enough 27s gang members to fill at least three taxis, as well as firearms.

The first attempt on Modack’s life was supposed to occur in central Cape Town. Seven armed men wearing bulletproof vests went to clubs in the Cape Town CBD anticipating his arrival.

“While at Mavericks, Jerome Booysen advised that he had information that Colin Booysen and Modack were on their way to Cape Town. The group was instructed to set up an ambush for them, with the intention of killing them as they entered the city.

“Before Colin Booysen and Modack could arrive, the police arrived at the scene and ordered them to leave the city,” reads the substantial summary of facts.

In the second attempt, the State contends that Lifman offered to fund the murders of Modack, Fields, Cronje, Goodley, Dalton, Colin Booysen and Lakay.

Lifman allegedly complained at a meeting that Russol had already been paid R80,000 to carry out the murders but had done nothing. Lifman is alleged to have agreed to pay a further R80,000 for the murders and to pay R10,000 upfront.

The third attempt on Modack’s life, involving Lifman, Naude and Jantjies, is said to have taken place on 22 November 2017, at or near Cape Town International Airport.

Lifman, facing nine counts, and Booysen, facing 11 counts, pleaded not guilty to the charges against them, including the murder of Wainstein.

Russol faces one charge, relating to the attempted murder of Modack, Booysen, Lakay, Fields, Goodley and Dalton. He pleaded not guilty.

There was no Russian interpreter available, but Judge Saldanha allowed Russol to enter his plea after his legal representative, advocate Johan van der Berg, agreed that he understood the charges against him.

State prosecutor Mervyn Menigo informed the court that the State would be unable to present evidence without a Russian interpreter.

As a result, the State intends to file an application for a separation of trials to ensure that any delays do not prejudice the other accused.

Both Booysen and Lifman were released on R100 000 bail in December 2020.

The trial continues. DM

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