John Bredenkamp
Zimbabwean businessman and rugby union player
John Bredenkamp
John Arnold Bredenkamp is a Zimbabwean businessman and former rugby player. He is the founder of the Casalee Group.
Biography
John Bredenkamp's personal information overview.
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Timeline
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    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2016
    Age 75
    In April 2016, The Guardian reported that Bredenkamp has an "estimated £700m fortune from tobacco trading, grey-market arms dealing, sports marketing and diamond mining."
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  • 2006
    Age 65
    In September 2006 Bredenkamp was tried in Zimbabwe on charges that he used a South African passport on international journeys.
    More Details Hide Details Zimbabwean citizenship law does not permit dual nationality. Although acquitted, he had to fight a second court case to obtain an order to return his Zimbabwe passport which the clerk of the court had retained. He was ordered to produce documentary evidence of his renunciation of South African citizenship to have his nationality restored permanently. But his passport was returned.
  • 2004
    Age 63
    It is claimed that he sought to facilitate the early retirement of President Mugabe in 2004 and his replacement by Emmerson Mnangagwa, former Security Minister and Speaker of Parliament.
    More Details Hide Details This displeased rival factions in ZANU-PF, and government investigations were started into the affairs of Bredenkamp's Breco trading company concerning tax evasion and exchange control violations. The matters under investigation were transactions between Breco in Zimbabwe and offshore companies controlled by Bredenkamp.
  • FIFTIES
  • 2000
    Age 59
    Bredenkamp has been linked to claims to facilitate the retirement of Mugabe in 2000, by the Guardian's investigation into the leaked US embassy cables
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  • 1998
    Age 57
    Bredenkamp gained considerable clout in the political and economic affairs of Zimbabwe. It is known that he played a significant role in the events surrounding Zimbabwe's intervention in the DRC between 1998 and 2003.
    More Details Hide Details This intervention involved using the Zimbabwean army and air force to support the Kabila government in its war with rebels backed by Uganda and Rwanda. There appears to have been some linkage between the intervention and generous mining concessions granted by the DRC to figures in the Zimbabwe political and business elite. When Zimbabwe was subject to EU sanctions from 1999 onwards, the Mugabe regime was able to call on sanctions busting expertise from the UDI era to keep its armed forces supplied. Bredenkamp became something of a power behind the scenes in the ruling ZANU-PF party.
  • FORTIES
  • 1984
    Age 43
    In 1984 he made his peace with the rulers of the new Zimbabwe and was able to return home.
    More Details Hide Details Zimbabwe provided a hospitable base for Bredenkamp's dealings with customers in Africa and the Middle East. These dealings made Bredenkamp and his associates very wealthy men. They also helped sustain the Zimbabwean economy in a time of some turbulence.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1980
    Age 39
    After independence in 1980, Bredenkamp left Zimbabwe and moved his base of operations to Belgium.
    More Details Hide Details However, he remained involved in commodity trading and defence procurement. He made himself useful in certain quarters.
  • 1976
    Age 35
    After leaving Gallaher in 1976 Bredenkamp founded the Casalee Group of companies registered in Antwerp, Belgium.
    More Details Hide Details It is believed that the Casalee operation was involved in the sale of Rhodesian tobacco on world markets, through evasion of UN sanctions. Casalee was primarily a leaf tobacco merchanting company but was also engaged in general trading and an active initiator of counter trade and barter deals. The Casalee Group grew over 16 years to become the fifth largest tobacco merchant in the world and the biggest non-US leaf tobacco company. The Group employed 2,500 people and had offices in all the major tobacco growing countries in the world including the USA (Winston-Salem), Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Greece, India, Indonesia, Italy, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Thailand, Turkey and Yugoslavia. The company owned tobacco-processing factories in the Netherlands, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Brazil. The Casalee Group of companies was sold in 1993 to Universal Leaf Tobacco, the largest leaf tobacco company in the world. Since then, Bredenkamp has expanded his business interests into many other different areas, mainly through the Zimbabwe registered Breco company.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1968
    Age 27
    After his graduation, Bredenkamp joined Gallaher Limited, an international tobacco company in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia), as a leaf buyer. In 1968 he was transferred to Niemeyer in the Netherlands, where he rose to the position of leaf director.
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  • 1965
    Age 24
    As a Rugby Union international, he captained Rhodesia from 1965 to 1968.
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  • TEENAGE
  • 1958
    Age 17
    Of Dutch ancestry, Bredenkamp registered as a Rhodesian citizen in 1958.
    More Details Hide Details He is reported to have lost Zimbabwean citizenship "by default" in 1984, but this was restored to him shortly thereafter. Bredenkamp is reported to hold Zimbabwean, South African and Dutch passports. The matter of his nationality was a matter of dispute with some Zimbabwean officials towards the end of 2006.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1940
    Born
    Born on August 11, 1940.
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