S.African group charged for illegal organ transplants
Top South African private hospital group Netcare and its chief executive Richard Friedland have been charged with offences related to organ transplants. The company, which runs hospitals in South Africa and Britain, insists the allegations against Netcare and Friedland are unjustified.
The transplants were allegedly performed in the early 90s in the coastal city of Durban. The Star newspaper in Johannesburg reports that five South African doctors have been charged with performing illegal kidney transplants for rich Israelis.
The organs, which cost 2,000 euros in Israel, were eventually bought for 600 euros from poor Brazilians and Romanians. The newspaper says 109 illegal operations were performed.
Five years ago South African police failed to make a case against Israeli citizen Ilan Perry for allegedly being the kingpin in the operation. But now Perry has reportedly turned state witness. The first court appearances are expected in November.
Netcare says it is surprised and disappointed that prosecuting authorities have brought charges now, after it’s been cooperating fully with the South African police for years, including proving several affidavits to the investigating officer.
The newspaper says charges include 109 counts of fraud and serious assault accompanied by forgery and organised crime.
The Mercury, which is The Star’s sister newspaper in Durban, reports that Netcare made more than two million euros with the operations. It says Friedland is accused of being aware of the illegal transplants.
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