Billy Rautenbach (other name Muller Conrad Rautenbach) is a wealthy businessman known mostly for his large business empire and close links to ZANU-PF. He owns one of the country's largest freight companies called Sabot. It is alleged he aided the Zanu-PF government financially, after the imposition of sanctions on it by the EU and US. In return, Rautenbach got lucrative drilling and mining deals.
Rautenbach was on a travel ban list in both the European Union and United States. He was added to the EU blacklist in January 2008, and the US blacklist towards the end of 2008 for his alleged involvement with the Mugabe regime.
Wheels of Africa business problems
Rautenbach was wanted in South Africa where he faced hundreds of charges of alleged fraud, corruption and other crimes including his connection with his own South African company named Wheels of Africa Group in the 1990s. The group, which was the distributor for Korean car firm Hyundai in South Africa and Botswana, was liquidated in December 1999. At that time, he had property worth millions seized from him. These include a farm in the Western Cape worth more than R30 million, hunting safaris, a falcon executive jet, a bell 407 helicopter and a yacht, which have since been returned to him. The charges against Rautenbach include the theft of 1,300 cars from Hyundai, bribing customs officials and fraudulently reducing the tax liability of Wheels of Africa's subsidiaries. He fled South Africa in 1999 after justice department investigators raided his office and home. In 2009, he reached a bargain plea with the South African authorities to pay a fine of 40 million rand.
In 2007, on a business trip in Lubumbashi, Congo, he was immediately arrested and consequently deported back to Zimbabwe for his alleged actions in South Africa, Rautenbach has denied such allegations and said “he left for Zimbabwe on his own accord.”
- Philippe Naughton (22 Dec 2008). "Gordon Brown's Africa minister hints at imminent action against blacklisted Mugabe 'cronies'". London: The Times. Retrieved 2009-07-31.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css has no content.
- Motorsport.com, 2006-06-27: Conrad Rautenbach Zimbabwe summary