Simon Rudland Biography| Al Jazeera Documentary, Businesses, Personal Life
Simon George Wilburn Rudland is a Zimbabwean entrepreneur who holds stakes in the logistics, agriculture, and finance industries.
Rudland is one of the owners of Gold Leaf Tobacco Zimbabwe and is affiliated with the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA).
Rudland recently gained notoriety when he was implicated as a member of the Gold Mafia in Al Jazeera’s hard-hitting documentary on Zimbabwe’s illicit gold market.
Simon Rudland has a sibling named Hamish.
He also has three children from a previous marriage: Sarah, Hannah (born on April 10th, 1994), and the youngest child, Emma Rudland, who has special needs.
Simon Rudland and Leigh-Ann Patricia Schoeman tied the knot on 3 September 1992 in Harare, under the provisions of the Marriage Act [Chapter 5:11].
On 19 November 2014, Leigh-Ann Patricia Schoeman filed a lawsuit against Rudland seeking the termination of their marriage and other related claims.
According to Leigh-Ann Patricia Schoeman’s allegations, the marriage between her and Simon Rudland had irretrievably broken down, with no possibility of restoring a normal marital relationship between them.
She claimed that during their marriage, Rudland had committed adultery, subjected her to physical and mental abuse, deserted their home and refused to resume cohabitation, denied paternity of their child Hannah Rudland, and engaged in illegal business activities.
Schoeman further stated that they had not lived together for over 30 months, and Rudland had started seeing another woman.
As part of the divorce settlement, Rudland was ordered to pay a sum of US$5 million within 12 months following the divorce.
As of 2019, Simon Rudland’s net worth was estimated to be approximately US$98 million.
Simon Rudland is a co-owner of Gold Leaf Tobacco Zimbabwe (GLTC) together with Yakub Mahomed.
Simon and his brother Hamish Rudland established Pioneer Transport in 1995, which grew into Pioneer Corporation Africa through the acquisition of other top transport businesses such as Unifreight (which owned Swift Transport), Bulwark, and Clan.
In 2015, Simon Rudland introduced the Rudland & George cigarette brand.
Along with his brother Hamish Rudland, Simon has been an active investor on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, holding significant stakes in various assets, such as Zimre (through his investment vehicle Day River Corporation), and in the agriculture company CFI.
On 14 August 2019, Simon Rudland was severely injured in an ambush outside the FITA offices in South Africa when two men shot at him.
As he pulled his black Porsche Boxster into the driveway, a gunman fired nine shots at him, hitting him three times – twice in the back and once in the neck, narrowly missing his spine by just one millimeter. Rudland was hospitalized and kept in intensive care.
Although he had not received any direct death threats, Rudland stated that he was not entirely surprised by the assassination attempt.
In March 2006, the South African crime-fighting unit, Scorpions, conducted a raid on Mavambo, leading to the issuance of court warrants of arrest for Yakub Mahomed, Simon Rudland, and Ebrahim Adamjee, a South African.
According to an affidavit, Mahomed was accused of operating two related cigarette manufacturing plants, Gold Leaf and Sahawi, which allegedly supplied cigarettes on which no VAT or excise duty was paid.
Adamjee was accused of controlling the cash generated from illegal cigarette sales. It was alleged that some of the cash was laundered through Mavambo and other accounts controlled by Rudland, who was also allegedly involved in smuggling Sahawi cigarettes.
However, the investigation was challenged in the Supreme Court of Appeal, leading to the withdrawal of the case. As a result, the investigation ultimately came to naught.
RG Brand Name
In 2016, Gold Leaf Tobacco Corporation was embroiled in a legal dispute in Zimbabwe over its use of the RG brand name for its cigarettes.
The court ultimately ruled that the use of the name caused prejudice to the Remington Gold brand owned by the Zimbabwean company Savanna Tobacco.
The following year, Gold Leaf introduced the brand Rudland & George in Zimbabwe, while the RG brand continued to be sold in South Africa.
In 2019, Simon Rudland made a donation of $5 million to Dynamos Football Club. He also signed a five-year sponsorship deal with Dynamos as its flagship sponsor through his R&G cigarette brand. The sponsorship package was worth RTGS$1 million per year for five years, with the possibility of an increase in financial outlay.
Al Jazeera Documentary
An investigation by Al Jazeera uncovered a group of individuals operating a gold smuggling and money laundering operation in Zimbabwe, which has been dubbed the “Gold Mafia.”
Several people, including Kamlesh Pattni, a pastor, Uebert Angel, a special envoy and ambassador-at-large to Europe and the Americas, Henrietta Rushwaya, the president of the Zimbabwe Miners Federation, Ewan Macmillan, and wealthy tobacco tycoon Simon Rudland, were implicated in the documentary.
Ewan MacMillian, an alleged gold smuggler who was featured in the Al Jazeera documentary, claimed that Simon Rudland is responsible for financially supporting the Zimbabwean government.