Guptas laundered R287m Estina funds into R880m
THE Guptas laundered the R287 million that the fugitive and controversial family received for the Estina dairy farm project in a complex manner to make it appear as if they had tripled the amount.
Shadow World Investigations’ London researcher Paul Holden started giving evidence at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture yesterday regarding the offshore money flows from the proceeds of the Estina dairy farm project in the Free State town of Vrede. The money was meant to empower emerging farmers.
“The R287m figure is what was paid by the Free State government with accrued interest, and the figure we reach of R880m is the R287m plus an additional amount that is effectively drawn from the R287m, but laundered in such a complex way through a circular system that ultimately returns the funds back into Estina,” Holden said.
According to Holden, this increased the aggregate deposits.
”In money-laundering terms, it’s referred to as round-tripping, where funds are paid out of an account to a second account, and potentially a number of different accounts, before being paid back to the original account to create the impression that there is a separate fund flow into the account. But it’s actually derived from the original payments,” he said.
Holden said the increase, about R600m, indicated that the R287m paid by the Free State government was “washed” three times in a circle to produce the R880m amount.
“What happened was a very complex system of money laundering in which Free State government funds were paid out of Estina and through a sophisticated loop eventually returned back into the Estina account, which made it look like Estina was receiving deposits from other sources, but it was effectively deposits derived from the Free State government,” he said.
Holden told the commission that of the total aggregate amount of deposits to Estina of R880.3m, including accrued interest, they managed to trace R35m, which indicated that a mere 3.89% of all the deposits received or interest accrued did not derive from Free State government funds.
The commission continues.