Just when you thought JZ and Guptas only did SA harm


In a newspaper in India, this gem was picked up.

In June 2017, an anodyne footnote to the Bank of Baroda’s (BoB) quarterly results mentioned a fine levied by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), headquartered in Pretoria.

The sum — Rs 5.45 crore (R11 million) — was insignificant for an institution the size of BoB. No further details were given; the penalty passed unnoticed in India.

But in South Africa, the SARB’s actions suggested BoB’s involvement in the “State Capture” scandal: an avalanche of allegations that President Jacob Zuma was under the sway of three brothers from Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh — Ajay, Atul, and Rajesh Gupta, collectively known as “The Guptas”.

As the scandal continues to unfold, BoB’s role as the Gupta family’s banker of choice for their most controversial deals, has attracted increasing attention from South African regulators, investigators and the press.

A joint investigation of thousands of pages of court documents, bank records, SARB records, internal Gupta company correspondence, and interviews with bank officials, by Hindustan Times, South Africa’s amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism, Finance Uncovered and the Daily Maverick’s Scorpio unit, reveals a laundry list of potential violations, and a seeming disregard for banking ethics and regulations by BoB executives.

An example: As early as 2010, BoB financed the purchase of a luxurious house that was bought in the name of President Jacob Zuma’s fourth wife, but paid for by the Guptas through BoB accounts operated by secretive trusts.

Source: Hindustan Times, India


Also read:

How Bank of Baroda’s misadventures dragged it into SA’s political crisis