SOURCES close to Turf Talk have confirmed that former Triple Crown winning owner Adriaan van Vuuren, allegedly on the run from the Hawks Investigating Unit, was found dead in a Pretoria Hotel Room on Thursday.
Rumours of the incident surfaced at around 1pm on Thursday on the SA Trainers WhatsApp group and an investigation revealed that Van Vuuren’s body had been found, the motive for his death not clear but suicide suspected. Unconfirmed reports have it that a gas bottle and a pipe was found near the body.
“Adriaan was in a massive dark hole, he was facing a long term in jail,” said a close friend. “When things were going well the Van Vuurens had many friends around them, but recently of course everyone scattered so it’s been a tough time for them.”
Lt. Colonel Sam Komane of the Johannesburg Commercial Crimes Unit noted on request: “The death of Mr Adriaan Van Vuuren has been reported to us, but it is pending investigation so I can’t say much more.”
Sunday newspaper Rapport reported last week that Sonya Joubert, Van Vuuren’s alleged accomplice in the said fraudulent activities at Trudon, was living the high life in New Zealand with her husband, one Francois Joubert, a Senior Manager of Samaritan’s Purse, a non-profit, Christian organisation providing emergency relief and development assistance to suffering people around the world.
Until recently, the couple Joubert allegedly lived in a R6,3-million mansion near Auckland fitted with a movie theatre, gymnasium and spa, but a spokesperson for Samaritan’s Purse said that they had nothing whatsoever to do with the matter and that while Francois Joubert was a high-ranked employee, they distanced themselves from his wife and their alleged self-indulgent lifestyle.
The report stated that Van Vuuren, as IT manager at Trudon, created invoices for non-existent software. The invoices had been paid in favour of two companies, Bites Bee Holdings and The Corporate Choice, of which Sonya Joubert was a director.
Van Vuuren’s wife Rika Van Vuuren has reportedly been battling to cope financially since the couple’s assets were frozen and her husband is alleged to have disappeared mid-February. Mrs Van Vuuren declared under oath in a document handed to the court that she’d been suspicious of her husband’s activities for years.