Yadhana Jadoo
Political Editor
2 minute read
18 Oct 2016
1:35 pm

Guptas ‘delighted’ with Gordhan’s ‘nonsense allegations’ against them

Yadhana Jadoo

The family has said they will now get the chance to clear their names after the finance minister aired his concerns in an affidavit.

Atul Gupta. Picture: Gallo Images

Ajay Gupta, and Oakbay Investments are “delighted” with an affidavit by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan filed in court over suspicious transactions – which they feel will formally clear their names.

“At last, the Gupta family and Oakbay can begin to formally clear their names. They thank him for this opportunity,” Gupta family lawyers Van Der Merwe Associates, said in a statement in response to the affidavit from Gordhan.

“Whilst we thoroughly welcome this application, it is undiluted nonsense and appears to be little more than the usual political games.

“To reiterate, we are delighted to have received this application. The truth always comes out in the end and we look forward to clearing our name in court.”

Gordhan’s application was being considered by lawyers for the Gupta family and Oakbay and will be dealt with in full in “each and every entry”, they continued.

In their “delight”, however, the family said the “application’s detail is fundamentally flawed as of the 72 transactions flagged” in it.

“Six transactions (totalling R4.096 billion) refer to the Optimum mine before it was under Oakbay’s control and so were not transacted by Oakbay or the family,” according to the statement.

“Twenty-four transactions (totalling R325 million) are perfectly legitimate, are in the normal course of business and are not suspicious in any way.

“Five transactions (totalling R1.698 billion) relate to Oakbay Resources and Energy, the listed entity. These are perfectly legitimate and all information is being supplied to its auditor, SizweNtsalubaGobodo, for review.

“… Twenty vaguely refer to ‘multiple transactions’ that makes any further analysis impossible without further detail from the Finance Minister.

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“The remaining 17 transactions (totalling R719 million) were also all for legitimate purposes and are absolutely not suspicious.

“We will disclose these transactions in full, once the full analysis has been completed.

“All of the 72 transactions were approved and cleared by the respective banks processing the transactions.”

The “fact that all transactions were approved is acknowledged in the attachment to Minister Gordhan’s application‎, in the form of a signed letter from the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank”, the firm continued.

It further said: “None of the transactions related to Oakbay or the family, which are over a five-year period,  were flagged to the FIC [Financial Intelligence Centre] as suspicious.

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“To put this in context, the FIC’s own 2015/16 Annual Report showed that 98,054 transactions in that year alone were flagged as suspicious by the banks (ie, STRs)

“One of the largest transactions flagged in Minister Gordhan’s application was the transfer of the Optimum Rehabilitation Trust’s Account (over R1.3 billion) from Standard Bank to the Bank of Baroda.

“Yesterday, we proved this was bona fide and approved by all relevant authorities (PDF attached). The transfer occurred because all of Oakbay’s accounts were being closed.”