The Demise Of A Confidence Trickster

In Confessions of a Confidence Man, Edward H. Smith lists “the definite steps or stages of growth” of a confidence game:

Foundation Work

Preparations are made in advance of the game, including the hiring of any assistants required.

Build Up

The  victim is provided with an opportunity to profit from a scheme. The victim’s greed is encouraged, such that their rational judgment of the situation might be impaired.

Pay-off or Convincer

The victim receives a small payout as a demonstration of the scheme’s effectiveness. This may be a real amount of money, or faked in some way. In a stock market con, the victim is given fake dividends.

The Hurrah

A sudden crisis or change of events forces the victim to act immediately. This is the point at which the con succeeds or fails.


A conspirator (in on the con, but assumes the role of an interested bystander) puts an amount of money into the same scheme as the victim, to add an appearance of legitimacy to the scheme. This can reassure the victim, and give the con man greater control when the deal has been completed.

David Cunningham King and his accomplice Iain Gregory Morris are accomplished con-men. Their biggest and most successful long con began in 1997. They both claim to be qualified accountants. Nothing could be further from the truth. King was a clerk in a Cathcart company that manufactured slurry pumps. He spent weekends as a golf caddy to American tourists. He hustled them. There is no record of King ever attending Ibrox during this period. His credentials as a Real Rangers Man are as illusory as his faked accountancy certificates. No-one faked accountancy certificates better than Greg Morris. The latter had used his confection to blag his way into a position of authority – Financial Manager – at Umgeni Water.

In a confidence game, the illusion of financial propriety  is a useful device during the  Foundation  Step. The background to KingCon has been forensically examined by a Legal Investigations Team. Its report was sent to Ronnie Kasrils, The Minister Of Water Affairs And Forestry, on the 1st June, 2001. Mr Kasrils issued a six page missive to the board of Umgeni Water in Pietermartizburg 13 days later. The following extracts from his missive are instructive when discussing the scale of King and Morris’ 4.2b ZAR Treasury Fraud. Mr. Kasrils wrote:

“We are a newly established democracy with much to learn. We need to be vigilant if we are not to fall prey to the profiteers who are always circling seeking easy pickings. This whole process should be a salutary warning to Board members of all public enterprises, not just those in the water sector. We have to recognise that directorships are not a gift, an honour or a community service but an onerous responsibility.

• I accept the finding that two former Board members held shares in SOL.

• I accept the conclusion that the contract entered into with SOL in 1997 was unfair, unbalanced and prejudicial to Umgeni.

• I further accept that the fees paid by Umgeni were excessive in the circumstances.

• In these circumstances, I note and support the avoidance of the contract with SOL.

• I need to record that the report demonstrates that there were serious lapses in Umgeni’s corporate governance in 1997 that allowed this situation to develop.’

There is prima facie evidence of serious misconduct that must be addressed. Therefore, until such time as such external reviews have been completed, and without prejudice to their outcome, I believe it would be wholly inappropriate for certain of the parties concerned, namely SOL or its former Chief Executive Mr David King to have any further engagement in the affairs of Umgeni save insofar as they may be required to provide such relevant historic information needed to prosecute further enquiries or required in order to place the future management of the Treasury functions on a firm footing.”

Dave King and Greg Morris were arrested and charged with corruption and fraud in April of 2001. Their trial in Pietermaritzburg Court collapsed when witnesses failed to attend. Were these witnesses intimidated by King’s underworld contacts? Were these the same contacts who subverted their racketeering trial where only 3 of 14 state witnesses had the courage to attend?

King bribed Morris with a position at SOL. Other executives were bribed with shares in SOL. When King had his hands in the £420m treasury till he exploited Umgeni like his namesake Don King exploited boxers.

The Foundation Work was in place. The next step, The Build Up, was to list Specialist Outsourcing on The Johannesburg Stock Exchange at 50c per share. King and Morris then issued quarterly returns which demonstrated unparalleled success. The returns were fake. King & Morris pumped the shares up to 70 Rand at their peak. They solicited funds from a number of disparate sources, including an orphanage. What could possibly go wrong with ‘qualified accountant’ Mr. King who had access to the State Water’s Treasury Fund?

The paper profits were The Pay-Off. With this stock taking off, investors cast prudence to the wind in a frenzied bid to board the gravy train. They were so relieved that they had clambered aboard the train before the train had left the station. The Hurrah was good to go.

It was soon time for the In-and-In. Unbeknown to anyone except Outsourcing’s founder Dave King, his company Ben Nevis sold its 70% stake in SOL over a three years period yielding a profit of R1.2bn, which was circa £120 million in Sterling. The funds were immediately “repatriated” to offshore bank accounts. Ben Nevis was registered in The British Virgin Islands . This in turn was owned by a Guernsey-based discretionary trust called Glencoe. As we discovered in Lord Ballantyne’s opinion King has now initiated another layer, Sovereign, which controls his game of three-card monte.

Asset managers unable to find shares in the open market privately approached King for stock. He always denied being a seller. To his mind that was true. Ben Nevis, not DC King, was offloading. I have emphasised this sentence in bold type as it will resonate when one considers present King’s criminal endeavours in Govan. During this three years period King continued to buy the stock in sufficient quantities to maintain its price. He briefed analysts that his stock acquisitions demonstrated that he was in SOL for the long term. With every share knocking on the front door, ten were being knocked off at the back door.

By October 2001, King had resigned from SOL to start a similar business called Legacy Ventures, which was later renamed Micromega. His original creation ended up worthless. Sanlam, Old Mutual, Coronation and Southern Life tried to make King accountable, claiming he fudged the financials and manipulated the share price. They had all been duped by KingCon.

I was one of the very few who saw King coming. The Mensch and I were trashed on the RIFC shares chat portal, but I knew where the bodies were buried in South Africa. The Mensch had significant contacts at board level.

In one of the most blatant lies I have ever encountered in a national newspaper, Cub Reporter Chris Jack asserted that King had paid off SARS to avoid criminal charges. This lying little lickspittle should not be believed on any matter unless it is supported by objective evidence, just like the subject of Jack’s wet dreams, Dave King. King was convicted of 41 criminal counts, each of which carried a two years prison tariff. King is a man of many convictions.

When one fast forwards to the Opinion expressed by Iain Alexander Scott Peebles, Lord Bannatyne – who is a Senator Of The College Of Justice and a Judge at The High Court of Justiciary and The Court Of Session – would anyone other than Chris Jack and King himself be so sentiently-challenged as to appeal? I foresically deconstructed Bannatyne’s 30 pages of findings and decision in jj passim: Two Shades Of Grey.

This was a premium content piece, ostensibly priced at £1.99 but given away free to all but a handful of recipients. It was a lot of work for little reward, just like The Sitonfence Speakeasy, which is a labour of love. Only 200 of my 10,000 to 42,000 daily readers contribute to the upkeep of our site. The overwhelming majority are freeloaders. Why should they pay when Phil Mac, Paul Brennan and James Forrest are free? For many they are in positions 1,2 and 3 in the social media premier league. The latter two are supported by advertising. Phil Macgiollabhain is reputed to earn a comfortable living from PayPal donations. His most productive source, Jim Spence, is keeping the Donegal Blogger in clover. Jim is alleged to have an ally on the board at Ibrox. There can be little doubt that The Three Amigos yield the most in revenue. I most certainly don’t begrudge them their support as without it their excellent sites would wither on the vine.

I have come to the conclusion that The Sitonfence Speakeasy is not indispensable reading. It’s not in the premier league of my peers. So be it. I guess every site has a finite lifespan.

This article will be provided free. I will receive no advertising income and as most of my readers are on vacation my coverage will be limited. Which is disappointing because as I rail against the fading of the light I’m minded to light the night sky with a dazzling piece. To go out as we all started with a Big Bang.

I’m a Celebrity. Get me out of here.

A useful metaphor when considering the clusterfuck of an omnishambles (my apologies to readers who have criticised my use of industrial language – would they prefer the aliterative: Incomparable Incompetence) that is Dave King, one can envisage King at the guillotine, with a masked executioner primed to unleash the finely honed blade. However at the eleventh hour there is an appeal. Would the executioner deny the condemned man a last cigarette?

An act of defiance if you will.? A stunt for pause and temporary respite? The estimable Lord Bannatyne, like The Mensch and I, saw King coming. Bannatyne could hardly state to a condemned man that smoking was bad for his health. What he did assert was a follows:

In so far as the respondent’s argument seeks to deny contravention on the ground that it was not him but the family Trust which made the purchase of the shares in Rangers, this is an argument not open to the respondent, in that as submitted by Mr McNeill, he is seeking to reopen matters where adverse findings have already been made.The court is not acting in the context of this provision as a court of appeal. The Panel is the body who is charged with the duty of evaluating the evidence and making findings of fact.”

King has made his appeal. It was not upheld. The findings were adverse. Suck it up Grifter. The Court of Session will give the Takeover Panel teeth. Your chutzpah of an appeal is as hollow as your accountancy training. Your head is for the chop King. Your legacy is four decades of financial carnage.


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25 thoughts on “The Demise Of A Confidence Trickster”

  1. King’s time as chairman is coming to an end but someone with an ego will take over. Egos do not pay wages. Cash is still King. Rangers are losing millions and cannot balance the ledgers. Murty is all they can afford. They are hoping to make money next month selling players but everyone knows that they will accept buttons. Lose tonight and at the weekend and gates will plummet. It will end in tears.

  2. Another great piece JJ, you really put the SMSM to shame.
    I hope you have a happy and prosperous new year.
    As I said earlier this month, my normal monthly donation of £25 will be increased to £30 in January, well worth it for the quality you produce.

    JJ: Thanks buddy.

  3. “King and Morris pumped the shares up to…..”

    This is clearly going on with RIFC PLC shares. They are arguably worthless but small volumes are trading between grifter convincers at silly above 20p prices.

    Clearly the victim/patsy/duped fool/mug in all this has been and will be Club1872. The city is giving RIFC a wide berth.

    Firstly All supporters associations, trusts, confederations, had to be lumped together and controlled. Thereafter they needed a mission; buy the club. So? Start contributing to the cash pot.

    Glib coveted the lucrative merchandising income but it was secured by Ashley. Glib said he personally would buy out Ashley but did a deal for club1872 to buy Ashley’s shares at a ridiculously high price Plus £3m of the club’s own money. King did not part with a penny but Now controls merch revenue.

    Jabba was paid large to splash it in the SMSM how King had rag dolled Ashley. But fans had ultimately paid for everything including Jabba’s fees to dupe fans. There’s no fools like ironic fools.

    Only Club 1872 can pay up millions for shares, they are his constructed target victim.

    Given the expected shares giveaway to bearsie pals, club1872 will pay up large to go backwards on share volume. Isn’t paying out to own less of the club against their Charter? The mission is to wipe out the Club1872 coffers.

    If there’s a later shares buyback by the PLC, only for Glib and three bears to enjoy, then that’s the cash trousering trick and goodbye.

    If witnesses in South Africa decide to step forward against King, then those charges all become live again. Imagine if they added new evidence of being threatened? It can happen at any point in time.

  4. That no Scottish newspaper has dared to publish these facts is an indication of how deeply the fix is in when it comes to matters Rangers (any iteration) in Scotland.

    Not that it matters for too much longer with the latest iteration undoubtedly following its predecessor into the abyss.

  5. Hi JJ, just wanted to wish you and all fellow bloggers and blog readers a happy Christmas and best wishes for 2018. I thought, with some horror I may add, that you were packing up. Glad to hear that the speakeasy caravans on for the end game. All the best JJ. My monthly contribution will continue as usual. Stay safe and good fortune in 2018.

  6. Excellent again JJ , i feel reassured that not only do your loyal readers enjoy your content but more than likely many people in positions of authority as well. Im also happy to see that all you bloggers have buried the hatchet . Personally i prefer your output but Phil etc have all been fantastic as well in doing what our MSM dont do …. uncover the truth . James Forests article the other day was brilliant and i hope it underlines that you guys are a band of brothers working towards informing us lay people what actually is the truth , not a P.R spin . Merry christmas and donation sent ending in xxxxx 0548 for a few cold ones . Firstandforemost

    JJ: Cheers

  7. Small donation made JJ. Great piece there and good insight into this crook.

    For all the Huns to see this guy as some kind of saviour is a beautiful thing. Deluded lot they are.

    The lights can’t stay on forever over there.

    JJ: Thank you.

  8. Hi,John

    Happy New Year when it comes. I notice you didn’t approve my rebuttal a few days ago,not surprised.

    Today’s article would have been better without the outing of sources,what use is an olive branch if you batter someone to death with it?

    I think you have put Jim Spence in a bad place,and he has lost a lot through his bravery.

    Weasel words from you,IMO. Frankly,I’m disgusted.

    1. Hold on a second. If Jim Spence chooses to liaise with Phil Mac where is the harm in that? If I and my readers are aware of one of his sources does it not add credibility to Phil Mac’s reportage or do you take everything he writes as gospel? Jim Spence for what it’s worth has taken the continuation jihadists head on. He has no need of you fighting his corner. I am informed which was the point I was making. The second point is who is his ally on the board and why is he briefing against colleagues. This is the real issue here. Would you prefer that I did not reveal that the Ibrox boardroom has a mole? If Jim or Phil drop by I’ll remove it. Given today’s hits it will not be seen.

      1. JJ, You are so wrong on outing Spence. How would you feel if a fellow blogger outed one of your sources? Trying to justify it is wrong on so many levels. And to berate the guy who pointed it out? No wonder you can’t get enough donations to thrive!

      2. A fellow blogger, James Forrest, stated that Jack Irvine was one of my sources. I did not see any rush to berate James. However any opportunity to have a kick at JJ is too good to miss.

  9. A stunning piece JJ. Full of forensics and an incredible attention detail. You called it out on the Rangers site portal years ago and my board contacts verified every single charge against Dave King.

    These serious charges against the custodian of the Ibrox ‘institution’ don’t warrant a mention in the Scottish press. Many Scottish sports journalists read this site. Journalists such as Spiers and Michael Grant at The Times. The football journalists at The Mail also read this site. The fact that a crook with a record of being a serial fraudster is conveniently hushed up in the Scottish media is a shocking reflection on them.

    The biggest scandal in Scottish sport hasn’t come and gone. It is still active and will remain active whilst King remains at the club.

    His days, of course, are numbered. But he failed in his fiduciary duties when the club was being run into the ground by SDM. And when he was garlanded back into Edmiston Drive several years ago, he arrived with a fanfare (press fuelled) and full of promises. These promises have all been broken. He is an empty shell. Not only does he lie in court (penniless), he lies to the fans (war chest of £30m).

    The Rangers fans deserved better leadership, honesty and transparency after SDM’s years of fiscal vandalism and borrowed money. Instead, they got King, which is what they wanted. And his legacy will be a broken club, short on funds, short on ideas, short on quality professionals at the top table and a very uncertain future.

  10. Perhaps Jabba threw Steven Kerr under a bus and blamed him for bad judgement with press releases.

    Or perhaps it’s more mundane and Kerr didn’t get any Christmas bonus or even paid for December!

    Bumbling jt and his L5 invoicing trick are crashing and burning with King.

    Has Club1872 finally clued up after the dodgy answers they got?

    Was over investing mentioned?

  11. Club 1872 has been an abject failure.

    It was a King idea, his construct, his placemen including Gough took control.

    All the various Rangers fan groups were passionate and independent and held boards accountable. They need to go back to that.

    With this impending share divvy up club 1872 looks pointless. It isn’t buying the club.

    More shares will go to others. What’s the point?

    Reversion to geographical fan groups RST, RSA, BO, SOS, …..has to be the way ahead.

    Why didn’t Club 1872 ask it’s questions before the AGM vote on share divvy up? D’oh!

  12. Did the fans deserve better after Bribe and Lies years?Don’t think so,they seemed to rather enjoy lording it over the rest of Scottish football.They are,what they deserve to be,a disgrace to decent society……

  13. Sevco is 100 years from Celtic.

    Celtic has a real supporting Billionaire and others in the sidelines who can get involved if needed.

    There’s thousands of millionaire level fans.

    Celtic share price 127.00

    Nomad, LSE AIM Listing.

    Various Lords as Directors. Clever, wise men of integrity managing the club.

    Champions League regulars, treble holders, invincibles Record. Not beaten at home in 2 years.

    Outstanding football management and player depth of squad. Scotland’s Premier youth academy.

    Outstanding FIFA award winning fans.

    An outstanding stadium and training academy with a hotel and museum on the way.

    Outstanding soccer brand. Outstanding goodwill and international respect.

    Zero spin required.

  14. Excellent article, but I disagree with your response to MG. Sources should be protected unless there’s a good reason not to. Seeking to demonstrate that you are ‘informed’ is not a good enough reason to damage another blogger’s source. If Jim Spence provides good info, why are you hanging him out to dry? A couple of days ago you held out the olive branch. Where is that now? If Jim Spence had to go into exile because of this revelation – and it’s hypocritical to suggest he can stand up for himself: he has already had to resign to take himself out of the spotlight – would you feel vindicated? Would you decide to forgive and forget like you did with KJ? Or PMcG? If this is forgiveness, I want nothing to do with it.

  15. You deserve to make a tidy living from this, and the likes of James Forrest seems to be able to do this via Snack Media. He says they do not interfere in any way with his content. But I suppose you must have good reasons why you have not gone down this road.

    A modest donation winging its way – with thanks for all your work and brilliant writing.

    1. As I have mentioned on a couple of occasions I met with Snack Media at Hotel Football prior to the FBA awards at Old Trafford. To take advantage of their advertising I would have to pay somewhere north of £1500 to build a new site, or give up my URL ceding control to them. The former was unaffordable the latter unconscionable.

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