Abraham Smit, the brother-in-law of alleged rhino poaching kingpin Hugo Ras, had been on the run for more than three years and is wanted by Interpol and the FBI, the Daily News reported on Friday.
Smit allegedly swindled American Jackie Atkinson out of $600 000. When he failed to turn up for court proceedings, a default judgment of almost $1.1m was issued against him by the Superior Court of California in Tulare county.
The judge also issued a warrant for his arrest.
The Daily News quoted the Federal Bureau of Investigations’ public information officer, Special Agent Gina Swankie, as saying that Smit is wanted for fleeing criminal prosecution and on six counts of wire fraud, which related to investment fraud.
The Citizen online reported on Friday that Smit, 36, commonly known as Arno, and three others, had been denied bail in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court.
Eyewitness news reported that details of Interpol’s arrest warrant for Smit were expected to be placed on record during the bail application.
He is allegedly one of 10 members of a rhino poaching syndicate, allegedly led by Ras, who were arrested on 19 September.
They face 318 charges, including theft, fraud, malicious damage to property, money laundering, intimidation, and the illegal possession of firearms.
Apart from Smit, Ras’s wife Trudie, as well as Bonnie Steyn and Willem van Jaarsveld were denied bail by Pretoria Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair, who, according to The Citizen online, said the State had a strong case.