Editorial

Decoding yet another Gupta house of cards

24 August 2017 - 05:46 By The Times Editorial
Indian businessmen Ajay and Atul Gupta, and Duduzane Zuma at the New Age Newspaper's offices in Midrand, Johannesburg, South Africa on 4 March 2011.
Indian businessmen Ajay and Atul Gupta, and Duduzane Zuma at the New Age Newspaper's offices in Midrand, Johannesburg, South Africa on 4 March 2011.
Image: Gallo Images/City Press/Muntu Vilakazi

Dubai has been a good friend to the Guptas and, judging by the number of ill-gotten rands that have ended up in the emirate, the relationship has been mutually beneficial.

According to Oakbay Resources, mining company Tegeta Exploration and Resources has been sold to "Swiss-owned" Charles King SA. Oakbay's statement said Charles King is owned by Amin Al Zarooni, who is from Dubai.

But already - and if you're surprised by this you shouldn't be - the plot thickens.

Al Zarooni's name does not appear in the company records, where the sole director is identified as Ronald Beau, a Swiss lawyer who has dedicated his professional life to "Swiss and international accounting, finance, legal and tax matters". In other words - and this is not to suggest he is guilty of any wrongdoing - he helps wealthy people and corporations to pay as little tax as possible.

As for the company he nominally heads, it was created in 2011 to manufacture and distribute the fashion brand Charles King Paris, which operates only online and sells hoodies, T-shirts and caps - hardly the kind of empire that seems tailor-made to run a South African mining operation, let alone finance it to the tune of R3-billion.

As with many things Gupta, then, a few minutes of elementary sleuthing expose another facet of the house of cards they have constructed in South Africa with the help of powerful and influential friends - and which they now appear to be engaged in reshaping.

The fact that the family's exploits can be so easily decoded, coupled with the fact that bountiful evidence of their malfeasance is contained in hundreds of thousands of publicly available e-mails, should be another source of encouragement.

It means the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority should find building a case against them as easy as falling out of bed.


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