Ty­coon jailed for $1bn bank fraud

The New Age (Gauteng) - - NEWS -

THE Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in Gaut­eng yes­ter­day marched to Absa head­quar­ters in Johannesburg over the bank’s “in­volve­ment in ac­tiv­i­ties that are detri­men­tal to the coun­try’s econ­omy”.

The march started at the Johannesburg City Hall late in the af­ter­noon.

Cosatu’s pro­vin­cial sec­re­tary Du­misani Dak­ile, said that they wanted the bank to re­spond to their me­moran­dum within 48 hours.

In Fe­bru­ary, the Com­pe­ti­tion Com­mis­sion an­nounced that it had ev­i­dence of col­lu­sion and price fix­ing among ma­jor banks.

The banks in­cluded Absa, Bar­clays Cap­i­tal, Bar­clays Bank plc, Stan­dard Bank, Stan­dard New York Se­cu­ri­ties, In­vestec, Bank of Amer­ica Mer­rill Lynch, BNP Paribas, JP Mor­gan Chase, JP Mor­gan Chase Bank NA, HSBC, Stan­dard Char­tered Bank, Credit Suisse, Com­merzbank, Aus­tralia and New Zealand Bank­ing Group, No­mura In­ter­na­tional and Mac­quarie Bank.

Mean­while, a re­cently leaked “pre­lim­i­nary” re­port of pub­lic pro­tec­tor Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane, found that the apartheid gov­ern­ment had breached the coun­try’s Con­sti­tu­tion by pro­vid­ing Bankorp, which was ac­quired by Absa in 1992, with bailouts from 1985 to 1995.

Absa, which is owned by Bar­clays, has been called on to re­pay R2.25bn to the na­tional fis­cus.

“Cosatu is wor­ried that ev­ery strate­gic sec­tor of our econ­omy does not be­long to us,” the union said.

“The fi­nan­cial sec­tor (bank­ing and in­sur­ance) is a mo­nop­oly in­dus­try dom­i­nated by four large pri­vately owned banks (Absa, Ned­bank, First Na­tional Bank and Stan­dard Bank), two of which have sig­nif­i­cant for­eign own­er­ship.

“Ev­ery day we live with the ex­cru­ci­at­ing pain of look­ing at the econ­omy of our coun­try be­ing squan­dered by both for­eign and do­mes­tic cap­i­tal when the coun­try is en­gulfed by racial in­equal­ity, poverty and un­em­ploy­ment.”

The union also called on the gov­ern­ment to es­tab­lish a com­mis­sion of in­quiry which will look into the mat­ter.

“There is a need for a com­mis­sion of in­quiry to get to the bot­tom of this mat­ter and to in­ves­ti­gate other il­le­gal trans­ac­tions that may have oc­curred prior to the 1994 elec­tions and dur­ing the gov­ern­ment of na­tional unity. The al­le­ga­tions that the gov­ern­ment might have over­looked re­cov­er­ing the monies from Absa are trou­bling,” Cosatu said in a state­ment.

The al­liance also ques­tioned South African Re­serve Bank (SARB) in­de­pen­dence on such mat­ters.

“This re­port raises the role of SARB in fa­cil­i­tat­ing the si­phon­ing of money by the pri­vate sec­tor and thereby prej­u­dic­ing the pub­lic purse. This mat­ter raises the ques­tion of the in­de­pen­dence of the re­serve bank.

“We need to na­tion­alise the re­serve bank, be­cause it seems like it is hiding the rot and in­su­lat­ing banks from scru­tiny,” a state­ment read. CHISINAU: A Moldovan court sen­tenced busi­ness­man Veaceslav Pla­ton to 18 years in prison yes­ter­day for money laun­der­ing and fraud linked to the dis­ap­pear­ance of $1bn (R13.2bn) from Moldova’s bank­ing sys­tem. The scan­dal saw the equiv­a­lent of an eighth of the im­pov­er­ished for­mer Soviet re­pub­lic’s gross do­mes­tic prod­uct stolen from three of its largest banks from 2012-2014. An in­ves­ti­ga­tion has iden­ti­fied about 40 peo­ple, who either ben­e­fited from the scheme or fa­cil­i­tated it, but most of them have yet to be named. The court found Pla­ton guilty of em­bez­zling some of the money that dis­ap­peared from lender Banca de Economii, which sub­se­quently went bank­rupt. – Reuters

PIC­TURE: ANN7

WOR­RIED: Cosatu marched to Absa’s head­quar­ters to protest over its par­tic­i­pa­tion in ac­tiv­i­ties af­fect­ing the coun­try’s econ­omy.

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