Gord­han rub­bishes Gupta claims

The Star Early Edition - - COMPANIES - ANA

FI­NANCE Min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han yes­ter­day dis­missed Oak­bay In­vest­ments’ claim that banks sev­ered their re­la­tion­ships with the Gup­taowned com­pany be­cause he was plot­ting against the fam­ily as “sim­ply scur­rilous” in court doc­u­ments, and said it was in fact their po­lit­i­cal con­nec­tions that prompted the de­ci­sion.

Gord­han, in his re­ply­ing af­fi­davit to one sub­mit­ted by Oak­bay ear­lier, said nei­ther he nor the Re­serve Bank in­flu­enced ma­jor banks to close the com­pany’s ac­counts.

“Con­nec­tions of bankers’ clients with po­lit­i­cally ex­posed per­sons trig­ger banks’ na­tional and in­ter­na­tional le­gal du­ties. It is be­cause each of the banks has con­sid­ered it­self un­der a le­gal duty pur­suant to the in­ter­na­tional and do­mes­tic statu­tory in­stru­ments ap­ply­ing to it that Oak­bay’s ac­counts were closed.”

Declara­tory or­der

The af­fi­davit was sub­mit­ted yes­ter­day, and is the lat­est sub­mis­sion in a le­gal bat­tle that be­gan last year when Gord­han asked the Pre­to­ria High Court for a declara­tory or­der that he was un­der no obli­ga­tion to in­ter­vene on Oak­bay’s be­half.

Gord­han said Oak­bay’s at­tack on him made no sense, in that had it been true that he was po­lit­i­cally plot­ting against the firm, it would never have ap­proached him for help af­ter the banks shut its ac­counts.

“Had Oak­bay hon­estly con­sid­ered that I had or­ches­trated a con­certed cam­paign against it, Oak­bay would of course not have ap­proached me for as­sis­tance.” Gord­han said Oak­bay did not con­test its po­lit­i­cal ties, nor did it dis­pute the Pre­to­ria High Court’s ju­ris­dic­tion to grant re­lief he had asked for.

In a court af­fi­davit in Oc­to­ber last year, he had re­vealed that pay­ments to­talling R6.8 bil­lion made by the Gupta fam­ily and firms they con­trolled in 72 trans­ac­tions had been flagged as sus­pi­cious. He asked the banks to pro­vide con­fi­den­tial re­ports made to the Fi­nan­cial In­tel­li­gence Cen­tre in open court so that Oak­bay’s claim that they had acted im­prop­erly could be tested. – ANA

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