JOHANNESBURG - Atul Gupta has to wait until Friday, March 9, to find out whether he can access his money.
That is when the Free State High Court is expected to rule on his application to unfreeze R10-million in his personal bank account.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) obtained the preservation order in February after the Gupta family allegedly looted more than R220-million from the Estina Dairy Farm Project.
Atul’s lawyer has called the NPA’s case a national embarrassment.
The NPA told the R10-million was siphoned off through an elaborate money-laundering network, with the help of the Bank of Baroda.
“The Reserve Bank fined them (Bank of Baroda) for this – R11-million. Not R1-million, not R100,00 – R11-million, because they are not keeping proper records of their client’s accounts. That is why money laundering is occurring with their Bank of Baroda accounts. They are facilitating it," NPA prosecutor Thabo Ntimutse told the court.
But the Gupta businesses' lawyer, Michael Hellens, insisted there is no evidence of looting involving the companies.
“There is no bank statement in the files given to you, or in the opportunity, they were given to answer our application, or anywhere at all, that Estina caused money to go to any of the entities I represent, including, by the way, Mr Atul Gupta.”
Atul Gupta's lawyer, Rafik Bhana, said besides the R10-million his client allegedly stole, there is another R127-million of untainted funds in the account.