A corporate spy has admitted in sensational court papers that he illegally tapped telephones at the behest, he says, of Investec bank.
It has now emerged that at least one of these belonged to a client of the bank.
His affidavit in the Cape Town High Court is being touted as a "smoking gun" by Investec clients who claim it shows the bank spied on them from 1998 as part of a bid to nail corrupt employees.
In court papers the Chait family - property entrepreneurs whose members founded Mvela Prop with Tokyo Sexwale and built the plush Melrose Arch precinct in Johannesburg - are fighting Investec's bid to claim R4.5-million from the family's 406 Fairweather Trust, which once owned the Victoria Junction Hotel in Cape Town.
The Chaits say their investigations have shown that telephones at their office next to the hotel - now owned by Protea Hotels - were "illegally" tapped by Briel. They have lodged a counter-claim of R170-million against the bank for ruining their business.