A lawyer for the Guptas claims President Jacob Zuma and his family have never gained material benefits from his clients. PICTURED: Gupta lawyer Gert van der Merwe
JOHANNESBURG – The Guptas' lawyer says they will show how all the transactions flagged as suspicious by the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) are in fact lawful.
Last week, the finance minister lodged a High Court application seeking an order that he not intervene in the banks’ decision to drop the Guptas as clients.
Pravin Gordhan’s court papers revealed 72 dubious transactions over the past four years.
One of the largest, a R1,3-billion transfer out of the Gupta-owned Optimum Mine Rehabilitation Trust.
In May this year, the FIC flagged the transaction from Optimum Mine’s tax-exempt rehabilitation trust.
The funds are meant to be used to renew and redevelop mining land once a mine closes.
But the Gupta family’s attorney says there's nothing wrong with this or any other transaction.
Gert van der Merwe says: "Whatever the allegations are, I am going to deal with them with particularity in the papers. I can give you one example: that is the R1,3bn that is alleged to have disappeared that was supposed to serve as rehabilitation fund money.
"That money is lying in a rehabilitation fund with another bank because the banks closed the accounts. So the long and short of this is we gave proof of this to advocate (Thuli) Madonsela as well."
Van der Merwe says a campaign is being waged against his clients and their companies to stop them from doing business.
"In our view, these co-called suspicious transactions were merely used as excuses to bring this application to court and eventually prevent my client from doing business."
However, economist Mike Schussler says the figures simply don’t add up.
"These transactions are huge and they are much bigger than the company at this moment in time.
"I think really people would be concerned and suspicious and that’s probably giving us the insight as to why the banks are not interested in working with them. Their auditors and sponsors were not interested either."
In a statement, Oakbay Resources has confirmed that five of the 72 transactions flagged by the FIC relate to its company, it says it's investigating.
On the back of pending legal action involving the company, Oakbay Resources CEO Nazeem Howa announced his resignation on Monday with immediate effect.
Full document pertaining to questionable transactions
(List of transactions starts page 90)