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Business of murdered ‘Steroid King’ was worth R40-million, court told

Business of murdered ‘Steroid King’ was worth R40-million, court told
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)

‘On a very good month, we made anything between R400,000 and R600,000 and on a bad month R400,000’ — testimony of Brian Wainstein’s former employee in the illegal steroid business.

The first State witness in the trial of those accused of murdering “Steroid King” Brian Wainstein testified in the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday that Wainstein’s illegal steroid business was worth R40-million.

Wainstein was fatally shot in August 2017 at his home in Constantia, Cape Town, in front of his partner and their two-year-old child.

Prosecutors claim that alleged underworld figure Mark Lifman paid to have Wainstein killed and that after the murder he and others took over Wainstein’s steroid business.

The main accused are Lifman and alleged Sexy Boys gang boss Jerome “Donkie” Booysen. Booysen, the late William “Red” Stevens — an alleged 27s gang boss, and Lifman were arrested in December 2020 in connection with Wainstein’s murder and 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 

Lifman and Booysen along 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.

On Monday, Lifman, Booysen and their co-accused pleaded not guilty to the array of charges.

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

The State witness is under witness protection and cannot be named in media reports. He faces several charges, including the murder of Wainstein.

At the end of the trial, Judge Vincent Saldanha will make a ruling, based on the truthfulness or otherwise of the witness’s testimony, on whether to exempt him from prosecution.

Meeting Wainstein

The witness told the court he and his brother worked as security guards for Farquharson, who initiated a meeting with Wainstein in 2016.

“The three of us met Wainstein at his Bliss Boutique Hotel. At the meeting, it was agreed that Farquharson, my brother and myself were to supply security [for] Wainstein. The security issue was raised after Farquharson said there was a threat toward Wainstein from Lifman. Wainstein also confirmed the threat,” he testified.

They were paid R10,000 a month as Wainstein’s private security guards, which included providing security night and day and escorting Wainstein when he went out.

Steroid business

The witness said his relationship with Wainstein developed and he was offered the opportunity to sell steroids when there was a fallout between Wainstein and a person selling steroids for him.

“I was aware Wainstein was selling steroids. He was known as the Steroid King; he had a reputation and I heard about it before I started working for him. I then took the offer,” he told the court.

Asked to explain how the steroid business worked, he explained: “Wainstein would import raw materials and told me it came from Turkey and Greece, and some raw materials from China. This will include powders and different ingredients [which, when] combined, result in the … steroid.”

The final product was in the form of tablets, capsules or a liquid for injecting.

“I knew the sale of steroids was illegal. My role in selling steroids was taking steroids to clients Wainstein told me [about] or clients I sourced. The clients were the wholesale market, businesses, shops and private individuals. They were legitimate shops and business entities.

“The clients were local and international. I also had an international client that Wainstein introduced me to. Wainstein’s business was called Axio Labs and was not a registered company,” he told the court.

Wainstein’s steroid business, he testified, had competition from laboratories and pharmaceutical firms based in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.

“On the sideline, I worked for labs that were in opposition to Wainstein. He didn’t like it. Wainstein wanted to take over the whole steroid market and wanted me to work for him alone and sell only his product.

“I had an agreement with Wainstein that I would get paid 10% of the income received. I would get it from his house or shop in the CBD. [On the] last day of the month I would collect my salary directly from a person called Eddy, or Wainstein. It was cash.

“On a very good month, we made anything between R400,000 and R600,000 and on a bad month R400,000. I would get 10%, meaning R40,000 or R60,000 per month,” he said.

He said Wainstein’s business was worth close to R40-million. This included machines used to manufacture and package steroids, which Wainstein told him were worth R30-million.

He told the court that through Wainstein he met alleged 28s gang boss Ralph Stanfield as well as Naude and Booysen.

“The first time I met Stanfield was at Wainstein’s home and the second time at his hotel where Stanfield was invited for supper. I met [alleged crime figure] Kishor Naidoo at the home of Wainstein. I was not aware of the name Mark Lifman when I met Wainstein.”

Brian Wainstein, Steroid King

The State witness testified he sold steroids for Wainstein and made between R400,000 and R600,000 per month, from which they would receive a 10% cut. (Photo: iStock)

Alleged police protection

“Wainstein also tried to deal in diamonds. He was arrested but Henderson made it go away for 20K. Wainstein, after that, would drop envelopes for Henderson at his office at the police station about 10 times,” he said.

Henderson is a former police official who is facing a charge of corruption and defeating the ends of justice. This relates to an incident that happened between 9 April and 24 August 2017 in Sea Point.

The State claims Henderson did not collect an unlicensed firearm which was to be examined for fingerprints despite a covering letter signed by his commanding officer requesting its collection.

On Monday, the witness said that Henderson agreed to accept R100,000 from Farquharson to protect the witness from arrest.

The trial resumes on Monday, 29 May. DM


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