29/10/2017 14:11 SAST | Updated 29/10/2017 14:11 SAST

'Tobacco Smuggler' Mazzotti Denies Funding NDZ's Campaign

He says a picture taken of them together was at a social funcion.

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
Former African Union chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma looks on during the African National Congress 5th National Policy Conference at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Soweto, South Africa, June 30, 2017.REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Controversial businessman Adriano Mazzotti on Sunday denied being involved in funding the campaign for Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to become the next ANC president.

''Carnilinx [his tobacco firm] does not support any political campaign . . . Neither Carnilinx nor myself have contributed cash to the NDZ campaign,'' Mazzotti told News24 in an WhatsApp message.

He said that a photograph of himself with Dlamini-Zuma which is now circulating publicly, was taken when "I met NDZ and a photo was taken which was placed on social media by a 3rd party.''

Mazzotti was responding to various allegations contained in an explosive book, The President's Keepers, by former Media24 investigative journalist Jacques Pauw that purports to unpack Jacob Zuma and Dlamini-Zuma's relationship with various people, including Mazzotti. The book claims Mazzotti has admitted to smuggling, fraud, bribery and money-laundering.

''I obviously will be consulting legal teams all day today as I've never been charged or convicted of anything, let alone these revelations,'' said Mazzotti as information from the book was released on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Economic Freedom Fighter's spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi declined to comment on the allegations of Mazzotti's ties to Dlamini-Zuma, saying the party did not want to get involved.

It is known that in the past Mazzotti has had ties with the EFF. -- News24Wire