Gordhan rubbishes Gupta claims
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.”
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