For all the appalling death and misery wrought by Cyclone Idai this month, the disaster had a silver lining for former Portuguese racing driver Jorge Pinhol. There, amid the destruction in Mozambique was the SA Air Force, its Oryx helicopters saving desperate survivors from the floodwaters, ferrying food and medical supplies, and generally doing good. The hero helicopters were indisputably on a humanitarian mission, not a military one. And that, for Pinhol, backs his argument in a $600m claim against state-owned company Armscor. According to UK-based Pinhol — who went into commodity trading and other pursuits after quitting the track — it is because of him that Armscor, back in the bad old days of apartheid and UN sanctions, was able to acquire 50 DIY Super Puma kits from French company Aérospatiale and assemble them in SA as the Oryx. Pinhol, who has been a middleman in a series of international arms transactions but insists he is a "businessman", not an arms trader, has since 1993...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as articles from our international business news partners; ProfileData financial data; and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now