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‘Steroid King’ murder trial hears how crooked cop protected violent debt collector

‘Steroid King’ murder trial hears how crooked cop protected violent debt collector
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).

The State’s first witness in the trial against alleged underworld figures Mark Lifman, Jerome ‘Donkie’ Booysen and their co-accused for the murder of ‘Steroid King’ Brian Wainstein has told how he beat up people as part of his debt-collecting duties for Lifman and Wainstein.

The first State witness in the trial of those accused of murdering “Steroid King” Brian Wainstein was warned that he could implicate himself by testifying but could be exempted from prosecution if he told the truth. This decision will be made by Judge Vincent Saldanha.

The witness testified in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday. Prosecutor Mervyn Menigo informed the court the witness faced a variety of charges, including the murder of Wainstein.

Alleged underworld figure Mark Lifman and alleged Sexy Boys gang boss Jerome “Donkie” Booysen, with co-accused Andre Naude, Sam Farquharson, Egan Morgan, former 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.

steroid king wainstein

Igur Russol, better known as ‘Igor the Russian’ has joined Mark Lifman and Donkie Booysen as co-accused in the murder of ‘Steriod King’ Brian Wainstein. (Photo: Supplied)

Booysen and Lifman, the main accused in Wainstein’s murder, pleaded not guilty to the charges on Monday.

Read more in Daily Maverick: ‘Steroid King’ Brian Wainstein murder — two alleged underworld figures plead not guilty

Before the witness testified, the issue of his identity, as well as that of another individual who is implicated and is currently in prison, came before the court.

Menigo argued that revealing their identities posed a significant risk to the safety of the witnesses and their families.

Saldanha ruled that the identity of the two witnesses cannot be made public.

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)

lifman murder accused

Murder accused Mark Lifman at the Western Cape High Court in Cape Town on 21 October 2022. Lifman and his co-accused face charges in connection with the murder of ‘Steroid King’ Brian Wainstein. (Photo: Gallo Images / Die Burger / Jaco Marais)

Witness’s link to murder

The substantial summary of facts describes the first State witness’s role in Wainstein’s murder and how he allegedly conspired alongside the 14 accused to carry out various crimes.

According to the summary of facts, Wainstein was an organised crime figure who traded in illegal steroids.

Daily Maverick has previously reported that Wainstein, once based in Ireland, was sentenced in a Dublin court to an effective four months in jail for illegally selling bodybuilding steroids. He had been doing so online.

Two years after that, Wainstein settled in Cape Town and became involved with underworld figures. He was wanted in the US for allegedly dealing in steroids worth R76-million.

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

The summary of facts states the first State witness was present when Booysen and Lifman agreed to murder Wainstein and decided on the amount of money to be paid for the murder.

“Prior to Wainstein’s murder, the State witness and [the other implicated individual], assisted by Booysen and another person in turn did reconnaissance at the home and place of the deceased to facilitate the planning of the murder.

“The State witness took over the deceased’s illegal steroid business and portions of the proceeds of the business were paid weekly over to Stevens, Booysen and a Naidoo person up until the State witness’s arrest,” the summary of facts read.

The witness is also implicated in the attempted murders of alleged underworld figure Nafiz Modack and associates Ashley Fields, Jacques Cronje, Emile Goodley, James Dalton, Colin Booysen and Carl Lakay, and in the charge of conspiracy to defeat or obstruct the administration of justice.

This relates to an attempt by 27s gang members to kill Modack and his associates at McDonald’s Sea Point.

Their plans were thwarted when police arrived and arrested one suspect for possession of an unlicensed firearm and recovered firearms in an abandoned Jeep motor vehicle.

“[Then police detective Wayne] Henderson agreed to accept R100,000 from Farquharson and offered in exchange to [the State witness] that he would scupper the investigation and shield the [individual associated with the State witness] from arrest and protection,” according to the summary of facts.

“Henderson then performed a number of acts to thwart the investigation, namely destroying possible evidence by not collecting a firearm which was to be examined for fingerprints.”

Debt collection

The witness said he was originally from Gauteng and worked in sales and marketing before moving to Cape Town at the end of 2015.

However, he struggled to find sales. He alleged that he had a meeting with Farquharson and started helping him with debt collection.

“We were paid by Lifman or Wainstein to go and intimidate people who owed us money,” he testified.

He said he assaulted people as part of the job, but: “We were never arrested on any assault charges because I paid money to Captain Henderson. That is the rank at which I knew him.”

On Monday, the prosecution said that if no Russian interpreter could be found to assist Igor Russol during proceedings, the State would file an application for a separation of trial.

However, on Tuesday, Russol’s legal representative, Johan van der Bergh, told the court that he had received instructions from his client that he understood English and would be able to follow the trial.  

The trial continues. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Trevor Gray says:

    The reality is that the length of time for prosecution makes thugs and criminals believe they are untouchable. Why it takes so long has to be questioned?

  • Malcolm Rooney says:

    Best news ever

  • jcdville stormers says:

    Hope they get found guilty and spend the rest of their lives in prison

  • Jon Quirk says:

    Why is Mark Lifman generally described as a businessman, when we all know, or certainly have been told, that he is a vicious mobster and gangster.

    Similarly, why is Zuma known as a politician, when even a casual observer knows that the same moniker that ought to be attached to Mark Lifman, ought also to best describe him?

    If journalism matters, ought not journalists to choose their words more carefully?

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