The Tuscan Wannabe Mobster

Extortion by other names: ‘daughter’ for discount

Charles HD Cornwall can smell $$$$: Tracked down to his hiding place - Redford Farm 232, Redford Road, The Crags, in Plettenberg Bay. As they say, old habits die hard. This smooth-talking investor extraordinaire is still at his old game… victims have been left holding empty milk bottles while he uses dogs to perfect his polo and shooting skills… he is the Tuscan mafia-wannabe…

In Brief

  • Notorious for his role in plundered companies in the UK and South Africa, former investment banker, Charles Henry Cornwall now resides in Plattenberg Bay and continues with his old trade, relieving unsuspecting marks of their wealth
  • It seems everyone is fair game for Cornwall (except his ex-wife), from a Belgian businessman to a minor who is allegedly poised to inherit much from her Italian grandparents - at least according to Cornwall to his potential marks
  • His ex-wife Patty succeeded in obtaining a court order compelling him to declare his assets during their bitter divorce, which saw her gain full custody of their children 
  • A recently-filed high court custody case in which he is named as the second respondent reads like a typical Cornwall modus operandi, and seeks to have the child’s birth father to relinquish his parental rights. Seemingly Cornwall’s goal is to claim her and the alleged wealth she is due to inherit

Nowhere to hide“SUE ME!” Those unfortunate people whose businesses have been ruined by Charles Henry Delacour Cornwall have come to be all-too-familiar with that phrase.

For the last seven years, this former video games and mining executive has remained a ghost… at least, that was the case until we tracked him to Redford Farm 232, Redford Road, The Crags, in Plettenberg Bay.

Unlike the more obviously-scary ghosts, Cornwall is a sweet-talking one, always full of fresh business ideas that seem too enticing to pass up. When discussing investment opportunities, he is so believable that most of his victims don’t hesitate to pull out their cheque books.  However, those who have succumbed to his sweetness are left broken – emotionally, spiritually and financially – and often too scared to speak out.

Most of his victims know of the January 2012 incident when Cornwall drew a polo club and broke the back of one of the dogs at the farm. The dog’s crime!!! Running after a polo ball, or something as innocuous as that. While the dog was crawling about in agony, Cornwall is said to have pulled out a firearm and shot it dead. The matter was reported to Animal Welfare in Plettenberg Bay, but when the animal rights investigators arrived at the farm, Cornwall was nowhere to be found, and the woman ‘owner’ (of the dog) denied all knowledge of the incident. Could she have been afraid of meeting the same fate as her beloved dog had?

We have checked with the firearms licensing authorities, and there appears to be no licence issued to Cornwall under any of the three birth dates we have established he uses. Possibly he has a fourth birth date we are yet to discover. Neither is there any firearms licence issued to the woman who has been living with him at Portion 37, of Redford Farm 232, Redford Road, The Crags, Plettenberg Bay. So whose firearms have they been keeping at the farm? The SA Police Service would surely be keen to establish that.

The only person he appears ever to have been frightened of was his ex-wife Patty, the former Baywatch star (now selling properties in California). During their bitter divorce, Patty sought a High Court application requiring him to disclose all his assets. He must have known that Patty was aware of some of his secret deals, including the valuable art works he had kept hidden away from everyone, particularly from the Receiver of Revenue.

When she pushed on with her High Court application, Cornwall eventually bowed to the pressure and let her have full custody of their two children (a son and a daughter). The two children are now boarders at the prestigious Stowe School in Buckingham, England. We can’t help wondering whether Cornwall has been paying for their support and education, or whether Stowe School has perhaps also been fed the ‘funds coming tomorrow’ story. 

Other than Patty, everyone is fair game to CHD Cornwall. He has few friends and those who remain close to him are too scared to do anything to upset him. 

A few months ago, Cornwall tried to get into a deal with a Belgian businessman who had sought to undertake some investments in South Africa. The concept he proposed to the Belgian seemed as flawless as a professionally-cut gem.

However, the Belgian, who has asked to remain anonymous, became seriously alarmed when Cornwall allegedly referred to a daughter as a ‘goldmine’. Our team has been informed that Cornwall told the investor that his daughter’s wealthy and powerful Italian grandparents had left her a massive inheritance and that Cornwall himself was soon to become the sole custodian and trustee of her financial affairs. He also informed the businessman of various high-impact deals he was currently working on.

Our sources informed us that during his meeting with the Belgian, he made a call to his financial manager to arrange for the delivery of an SUV he had ordered from the UK. Fortunately for the Belgian, he grew increasingly suspicious and decided to undertake his own due diligence on Cornwall. What he established made him pack his bags and get a flight back to Belgium without delay.

By sheer chance, our team stumbled across the aborted Belgian saga at the same time as we were learning of the recently-filed High Court custody case that has named Cornwall as the second Respondent.

Could it have been a coincidence that the daughter whose custody is being contested is the same one Cornwall had already secretly claimed to be his goldmine? The child, whom we cannot name, has Italian grandparents. A close examination of the High Court papers in this matter certainly reads like a typical Cornwall MO.

Cheekily tied to the custody case is a demand for R3 million from the child’s South African father for some unpaid rental for the duration he lived at the farm owned by Tuscan Mood 1156 cc with the mother of his daughter. [Next time you break-up with your girlfriend or boyfriend, pray that Cornwall doesn’t get refuge at the same house, otherwise a bill would be sent to you].

“Sell your daughter to us for half of what you owe us.”

Another legal letter offering a concession immediately followed this R3 million rental demand; they were ready to reduce the outstanding rental to R1.5 million on condition that the father relinquished his parental rights to the daughter. Simply put, it appeared to say: “Sell your daughter to us for half of what you owe us.” The answer from the father, who has been fighting for visitation rights since Cornwall became a permanent feature at the farm, was a resounding ‘NO!’

Soon after the custody matter was filed Cornwall went into overdrive, soliciting witnesses to provide him [not the mother of the child] with affidavits claiming that the real father would be a danger to the child. We can only ask, what court would allow any child to be brought up anywhere near a psychopath like Cornwall? We await the October outcome of the matter.

The other relatives of the child’s father have not escaped his wrath either. Cornwall has repeatedly been calling them to pass messages to the child’s father that he (Cornwall) was going to ruin him.

And what mother would allow her daughter to be used in business negotiations? Surely only one who has come under the spell of Charles Henry Delacour Cornwall or one already so deep in illegality to be exposed by Cornwall. What is this child really worth to Cornwall? Is she an heir to her alleged grandparent’s wealth as has been claimed? Or what does Cornwall have on the grandparents? A team of European journalists who have been collaborating with us on the story are currently hard at work finding the answers and we may know sooner rather than later.

Is Cornwall so broke that he has to resort to hawking other people’s children? If he is, then he hasn’t been acting accordingly. In the last several weeks, we have been provided with records of various communications he has had with at least three offshore banks - Barclays Bank in the Seychelles, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation in Singapore and RHB in Malaysia. While our team is still trying to establish whether he has any banking accounts with these banks, we wouldn’t be surprised if these attempts turn out to be no more than his typical bull-feathering, aimed at convincing potential victims that he has substantial resources. But if such accounts indeed exist, what would be the likelihood that they are stuffed with funds originally swindled from Randgold Group?

Barclays Bank in the Seychelles, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation in Singapore and RHB in Malaysia

Only time will tell.

In the meantime, we hope that other victims, including those we have talked to, could find the courage to allow their experiences to be told. Taking legal action against Charlie Cornwall, of course, would be futile. He has nothing to his name or at least to his known names.

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