Iqbal Survé’s brother-in-law claims Sygnia CEO Magda Wierzycka threatened to continue writing negative articles about his companies unless they sold her shares back to her cheaply. Picture: GALLO
Iqbal Survé’s brother-in-law claims Sygnia CEO Magda Wierzycka threatened to continue writing negative articles about his companies unless they sold her shares back to her cheaply. Picture: GALLO

Sygnia CEO Magda Wierzycka “absolutely denies” allegations published in Iqbal Survé’s newspapers claiming she offered to stop writing negative articles about his companies if she could buy her shares back at a discount.

On Tuesday, Survé’s Business Report carried an article based on an affidavit written by Survé’s brother-in-law, Khalid Abdula, who is CEO of Survé’s investment holding company, African Equity Empowerment Investments (AEEI).

Wierzycka initially responded with “crying with laughter” emojis. 

“I’ve made a couple of attempts to buy back those shares,” Wierzycka said in a radio interview on Tuesday afternoon.

“They have rebuked me every single time. The last exchange we had was when I offered to buy back the shares at market rates. They refused and the next thing I hear is I’m charged with extortion.”

A subsequent Tweet from Wierzycka indicated that what she initially regarded as joke had turned ugly.

“Every time I’ve been critical of Ayo Technology, [Survé] has published stories in Business Report about me being a subliminal racist and, consequently, I’m already suing him for defamation,” Wierzycka said in the radio interview.

“I intend to add additional charges to that civil suit. I absolutely deny that I have in any manner offered him below market-related valuations.”

The latest attack on Wierzycka by Survé’s newspapers followed weekend reports based on a leaked letter in which former Ayo CEO Kevin Hardy and chief investment officer Siphiwe Nodwele listed their concerns before they resigned.

Among the suspicious related-party deals the former executives objected to was an attempt to pressure them into loaning R400m of the R4.3bn that the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) invested in Ayo’s initial public offering (IPO) to Survé’s 3 Laws Capital.

laingr@businesslive.co.za