FILE. Indian businessmen, Ajay Gupta (L) and brother Atul Gupta (R) at a one on one interview with Business Day in Johannesburg on 2 March 2011 regarding their professional relationships.
JOHANNESBURG - Accusations of banking transactions involving laundering of money, the Gupta family and their associate Salim Essa surfaced on Saturday.
Investigative journalism unit Amabhungane and the Daily Maverick website say they have evidence that suggests about R250-million was laundered through a company called Homix and sent to Hong Kong.
It says the money came from kickbacks for contracts with state-owned companies.
Amabhungane says bank records show that over six months in late 2014 and early 2015 money was laundered through Homix, a so-called letterbox company (little but a mailing address).
Five companies paid money over to Homix and it was then laundered, according to Amabhungane.
An article on the Daily Maverick says the companies "have two things in common -- Transnet money and the name 'Gupta' or 'Essa' somewhere in their stories". The companies are Neotel, Cutting Edge Commerce, Sechaba Computer Services, Regiments Capital and Burlington Strategy Advisors.
Amabhungane journalist Stefaans Brummer told eNCA the evidence of the laundering was strong.
"We’re talking about bank statements showing this money flowing under very suspicious circumstances. We’re talking about an official report which was part of what was submitted by the previous public protector that also talks of the Reserve Bank freezing some of the money flowing to Hong Kong.
"We have all these things, which are too much of a coincidence, including that money starts in each identified case with a Transnet contract. Then through their five identified companies in each case these companies have contracts with Transnet. And in each case there was some form of dealing with the Guptas or Essa. Some of that money washes up in Hong Kong and then it ends up with the company with an identified address, which happens to also the address used by three of Salim Essa’s companies in Hong Kong .”
Earlier on Saturday the Gupta family hit out at Amabhungane journalist Susan Comrie over her award-winning work on their deals with Eskom. They said she had sent them questions that were full of innuendo but no evidence.