Gupta coal mine could face liquidation


FILE image. Billionaire publisher Atul Gupta outside the Randburg Magistrate's court in Johannesburg on 27 September 2010. Gupta was charged with obstruction of justice and arrested on 25 September 2010, but the case was dropped due to lack of evidence.

JOHANNESBURG - The controversial Gupta family may lose its recently-acquired Optimum Coal Mine.

A multinational company is threatening the mine with liquidation, claiming it is owed money for goods and services.

Barely a week ago, reports emerged that R1.3-billion of Optimum Coal’s rehabilitation funds, were transferred from a Standard Bank account to the Bank of Baroda a state-owned Indian bank.

eNCA has a statement issued by listed company, Barloworld Equipment.

In it, the company confirms that it has applied to a High Court for the liquidation of Optimum Coal Mine.

The politically-connected Gupta family recently purchased the mine.

Barloworld Equipment says it did not make the decision to go to court lightly, and it follows 13-months of not receiving payment for goods and services provided.

In the statement, the company does not mention how much Optimum Coal owes, but eNCA is reliably informed that the debt runs into millions of rand.

Optimum Coal is understood to have been leasing mining equipment from Barloworld.

The Gupta-owned mine has repeatedly failed to pay for the machinery.

Optimum Coal and the Gupta family have not immediately responded to the claim.

The Gupta family has been implicated in a number of nationwide issues of late, not least being the Public Protector's State Capture report and the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) flagging a number of suspicious transactions by the family and Oakbay Investments. 

WATCH: Gupta lawyer defends family transactions


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