Guptas: Claims just part of a political game - Times LIVE
Thu Apr 27 20:41:59 SAST 2017

Guptas: Claims just part of a political game

Gupta Brothers interview
Indian businessmen Ajay and Atul Gupta at the New Age Newspaper's offices in Midrand, Johannesburg on 4 March 2011.
Image by: Muntu Vilakazi/Gallo Images

The Gupta family yesterday dismissed suggestions that some of its bank transactions were linked to criminal activity, describing them as "little more than the usual political games".

Also yesterday, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan suggested that the political instability stemming from his being charged with fraud would weaken South Africa's economy even further. He was speaking yesterday at a KwaZulu-Natal provincial government meeting.

Gordhan lifted the lid on the Gupta family's "suspicious" bank transactions in an application to the Pretoria High Court for a declaratory ruling that he did not have the power to intervene in the dispute between the Gupta family and the major banks that refused to continue holding the accounts of Gupta companies.

Gordhan has been charged with fraud by the National Prosecuting Authority for signing off SARS deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay's early retirement application. His lawyers have said that the charge is unlikely to stick.

Court papers filed by Gordhan on Friday include an affidavit by the director of the Financial Intelligence Centre in which 72 suspicious transactions linked to the Guptas, and three to President Jacob Zuma's son, Duduzane, are listed.

They are flagged in accordance with the provisions of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act, which requires banks to report activities that could be related to money laundering, sponsorship of terrorism or tax evasion.

The Guptas have thanked Gordhan for applying to the court, saying ". at last, the Gupta family and Oakbay [Resources] can begin to formally clear their names".

They disputed the contents of the FIC director's affidavit, saying none of the transactions was flagged or suspicious.

The family said that the banks had allowed all of the listed transactions to go ahead.

But Intellidex analyst Stuart Theobald said: "The banks must flag suspicious transactions and the fact that they were carried through doesn't mean anything.

"Banks are not regulators - they merely have to report transactions to the regulators, in this case the FIC. But it does not mean that the banks must put a stop to the transactions."

  • Gordhan yesterday told the national director of public prosecutions, Shaun Abrahams, that he did not intend making representations to him in connection with the charge of fraud against him.

Abrahams had given Gordhan, national Hawks head Major-General Berning Ntlemeza and SARS boss Tom Moyane until 5pm yesterday to make representations to him.


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