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Indian Bank under scanner for links to South Africa’s powerhouse

Posted in World

Published on February 11, 2018 with No Comments

Decision on Zuma’s future ‘soon’. South Africa’s deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, has said that he expected that the future of embattled leader Jacob Zuma would be settled in the ‘coming days’. President Zuma is under growing pressure to step down in favour of his deputy and African National Congress (ANC) party leader Ramaphosa, with local media suggesting an exit deal is being hammered out.

Bank of Baroda has said the South African Reserve Bank is investigating allegations regarding compliance lapses at the bank’s branch in that country and it is cooperating in the matter. The bank issued  clarifications sought  regarding a news report citing the bank’s involvement with the Gupta brothers, an Indian-origin family linked to a political scandal surrounding South African President Jacob Zuma. The news report referred to the bank’s dealings with the Gupta family, now settled in South Africa, and follows information furnished by the bank to exchanges in August 2017 about paying Rs 5.45 crore as penalty that was imposed on its South Africa branch by the local regulator.

It had also informed about paying a Rs 42.26 lakh fine in Seychelles. “As regards the news item, the Reserve Bank of South Africa is investigating the allegations against Bank of Baroda and the bank is actively cooperating and supporting these investigations,” the bank said in a regulatory filing to the exchanges.

In March 2016, a South African minister alleged that a member of the Gupta family had offered to get him a promotion in the government the previous year. Companies run by the Guptas have been accused of wrongdoing in multiple contracts related to mining, railways and arms contracts. Leaked emails in 2017 claimed that an associate of the Guptas had secured a kickback of $400 million in a contract for the supply of locomotives to a state-owned rail operator. In 2016, the family had claimed that they would close their businesses in South Africa by the end of that year due to the frequent allegations. In 2017, after mounting protests, four South African banks stated they had stopped dealings with companies associated with the Guptas. The family started increasing its presence in Dubai, where it reportedly owns a residence. However, it is unclear whether they have left South Africa altogether. While the Guptas have been prominent in South Africa, they rarely made news in the country of their origin.



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