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Forbes: Billionaire Scandals of 2012

Christoffel Wiese's Unusual Baggage

In June, South African supermarket mogul Christoffel Wiese faced perhaps the most unusual billionaire legal fight of the year: recovering over $1 million confiscated by customs officers because he was traveling with that huge sum in cold, hard cash bundled up in rubber bands in his luggage. As the U.K.’s Daily Mail reported from London’s High Court, the billionaire tried to board a flight from England to Luxembourg in 2009 with two checked suitcases and one carry-on bag stuffed with a combined £674,920 — just over $1 million — in bills. The U.K. justice system apparently didn't buy Wiese's explanation that the money came from diamond deals in South Africa in the 80s and 90s, and had been kept in a safety deposit box in the Ritz hotel because of foreign exchange restrictions in his homeland. His lawyer tried to lend some perspective to proceedings, reminding the court that for a billionaire like Wiese, $1 million counts for "less than two weeks’ income and a minute fraction of his assets.”
(Courtesy of Pepkor)

More from Forbes:
Full List: Biggest Billionaire Scandals Of 2012
America's Richest Billionaires
The World's Most Powerful People

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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