Top Portuguese banker on the run for fraud dies in SA custody

Former chair of the Portuguese Private Bank, Joao Rendeiro, fled his home country late last year after he was convicted of a string of graft charges related to the collapse of the bank. He was subsequently arrested by Interpol in Umhlanga Rocks, north of Durban.

Picture: Pixabay.com

JOHANNESBURG - A high-ranking Portuguese banker-cum-fugitive fraudster who was arrested in South Africa late last year, has died in custody before he could be extradited.

Former chair of the Portuguese Private Bank, Joao Rendeiro, fled his home country late last year after he was convicted of a string of graft charges related to the collapse of the bank.

He was subsequently arrested by Interpol in Umhlanga Rocks, north of Durban, and was due to appear in court on Friday for an extradition hearing.

Rendeiro was found guilty of a raft of charges, including computer and document forgery, fraud, breach of confidence and money laundering, all linked to the collapse of the Portuguese Private Bank.

He was slapped with a combined total of more than 18 years behind bars and against this backdrop fled Portugal in September.

He was arrested two months later and had been in custody at Westville Prison since then.

Correctional Services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo on Friday morning confirmed that Rendeiro had died in custody.

He said that an investigation had been launched to determine the cause of and circumstances leading to his death.