NEWS

Gupta-Linked Salim Essa Exits Trillian As Corruption Allegations Continue To Pile Up

Were claims that Eskom paid Trillian millions for work it didn't do the final straw?

26/07/2017 15:31 SAST | Updated 26/07/2017 15:31 SAST
infraco.co.za

Controversial, Gupta-linked Trillian Capital Partners has parted ways with Salim Essa after he reached a deal to sell his 60 per cent holding in the company to Trillian CEO Eric Wood.

Salim Essa has clear links to the controversial Gupta family, who are close to President Jacob Zuma and central in the allegations of state capture.

The latest allegations around Trillian involved Eskom's acting board chairperson Zethembe Khoza admitting to paying Trillian -- which he said had been subcontracted by McKinsey -- almost R500 million in consultancy fees. Previous reports claimed this work was not actually carried out.

Read: How The Guptas Successfully Annexed Eskom -- And The Curious Case Of The Trillian Millions

Trillian said in a statement: "The unrelenting media allegations arising from Mr Essa's holding (despite no proof or official charge) has had a negative impact on the ability of Trillian Capital Partners and its staff to reach their full potential.

"It is therefore with regret that Mr Essa has taken the decision to divest from the business. Trillian has always maintained its innocence in the face of allegations and reiterates the belief that it has a team of excellent staff who are able to deliver on their mandates to the highest standards."

An explosive report by advocate Geoff Budlender, commissioned by former Trillian chairperson Tokyo Sexwale, was launched after allegations surfaced that Wood knew about the axing of former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene before it happened, in December 2015.

There were also allegations that Wood, his associates and the Guptas were involved in attempts to capture the Treasury, as well as fraud and corruption allegations, and accusations that Trillian had billed Eskom and Transnet for fictitious work.

According to reports, Sexwale left Trillian frustrated due to management's refusal to work fully with Geoff Budlender and hand over relevant documents.

"The conduct of Trillian Management in this inquiry has left me with the impression that what it says cannot be trusted," Budlender writes in his report.

BizNews reported in June: "In particular, Sexwale hit out at Gupta associate Salim Essa – who owns 60% of Trillian. Essa refused to even meet Sexwale, casting a further dark cloud over the company."

Sexwale's parting shot was that the Guptas had destroyed the ANC.