NEWS

Guptas Lose Court Bid To Keep Last SA Bank Accounts Open

It means the Guptas have to remove their money from the Bank Of Baroda by the end of the month.

21/09/2017 12:26 SAST | Updated 21/09/2017 12:28 SAST
Danish Siddiqui / Reuters
The Bank of Baroda headquarters is pictured in Mumbai, India, April 27, 2016.

The High Court In Pretoria dismissed an application by 20 Gupta-owned companies including Oakbay Investments and Tegeta Exploration to prevent the Bank Of Baroda closing its accounts at the end of September.

The family wanted the court to grant an interdict to delay the closing of accounts until December 7‚ when their main application was scheduled to be heard, reported TimesLives.

Counsel for the Guptas argued that roughly 7‚500 employees might not get paid if the accounts were closed. HuffPost SA previously reported that Ajay Gupta's eldest son, Kamal Kant Singhala, had to address workers at the embattled VR Laser steel company, where he gave an explanation about the company's failure to pay weekly wages on time.

This now means that the Guptas have to remove their money from the bank by the end of the month.

Read: Bank Of Baroda Fined R11m For Assisting Guptas

The deadline for the closure of their accounts has been set to the end of September, Gary Naidoo, a spokesperson for the family and their companies, told Bloomberg in August.

"This has not been afforded by the Bank of Baroda to enable these companies to transfer their banking facilities to a new bank, but rather has occurred in the context of the ongoing litigation between the parties," Naidoo said. "No other bank has agreed to offer them alternative banking services."

Read: The Guptas Want To Clear Their Name By Selling ANN7 And The New Age To Mzwanele Manyi

Four major banks in SA closed the family's accounts in 2016.

The Bank of Baroda told the North Gauteng High Court this month that it wanted to cut ties with the controversial family's group of companies, as it feared reputational damage from continuing doing business with the firms.

Twenty Gupta-owned companies sought an urgent interdict to prevent the Indian-based bank from closing their bank accounts.

The Gupta-owned companies, including Annex Distribution, Sahara Computers, VR Laser Services, Koornfontein Mines, Oakbay Investments, Optimum Coal Mine, Shiva Uranium, Tegeta Exploration, and Mabengela Investments, brought the urgent application in an effort to retain banking services.