South Africa's Gupta-owned Oakbay says Gordhan affidavit flawed

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 18, 2016 7:38 AM

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's Oakbay Investments said on Tuesday that a court application by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan implicating the firm and its owners, who have close ties to President Jacob Zuma, in suspicious transactions was flawed.

The statement comes days after Gordhan revealed in a court affidavit that 6.8 billion rand ($491 million) in payments made by Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta and companies they control and other individuals with the same surname have been reported to authorities as suspicious since 2012.

The three Indian-born businessmen are the subject of an official investigation into allegations that they have had undue influence over Zuma. The president has denied granting undue influence to the brothers and they have denied seeking it.

Oakbay, whose chief executive Nazeem Howa resigned for health reasons on Monday, said all 72 transactions were approved by the bank's processing them.

"The application's detail is fundamentally flawed as of the 72 transactions flagged, our initial analysis shows," the company said in a statement.

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Several banks and companies have cut ties this year with Oakbay, without publicly disclosing their reasons. They included South Africa's top four banks: Standard Bank, Nedbank, Barclays Africa's Absa and First National Bank (FNB), part of FirstRand.

(Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by James Macharia)