NEWS

Court Throws Guptas A Lifeline By Ordering Bank Of Baroda To Keep Their Accounts Open

But the order only keeps the accounts open for now, pending a final application that must be launched in 15 days.

09/10/2017 13:00 SAST | Updated 09/10/2017 13:04 SAST
Danish Siddiqui / Reuters
Bank of Baroda headquarters in Mumbai, India.

The Pretoria high court may have thrown the Gupta family a lifeline on Monday when it ordered Indian state-owned Bank of Baroda to keep the existing accounts of Gupta-linked companies with the bank open, according to Fin24.

But the order only keeps the Gupta accounts open for now, pending a final application that must be launched within 15 days.

The Gupta-owned companies submitted the application after the India-based bank gave the companies until the end of September to remove the money from their accounts.

READ: Oakbay, Tegeta Among 20 Gupta Companies Fighting To Keep Bank Of Baroda Accounts Open

The companies who fought for the application were Annex Distribution, Confident Concepts, Sahara Computers, VR Laser Services, Islandsite Investments 188, Koornfontein Mines, Oakbay Investments, Optimum coal mine, Shiva Uranium, Tegeta Exploration, Westdawn Investments, Idwala Coal and Mabengela Investments.

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
A general view of the Sahara computers headquarters, owned by the Gupta family, is seen in Midrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, April 14, 2016. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Many of the businesses are having financial problems, such as being unable to pay employees and conduct business. Judge Tati Makgoka on Monday granted an interdict against the bank from deactivating or closing the banking accounts.

READ: Bank Of Baroda Says It'll Shut The Guptas Accounts By The End Of August

According to Fin24, the bank reported 45 suspicious transactions to the Financial Intelligence Centre between September 16 2016 and July 14 2017.

Oakbay Investments resorted to selling its businesses. This included Tegeta Exploration and Resources, which was sold to Swiss-based Charles King SA for R2.97 billion.

In addition, Oakbay sold its media assets, broadcaster ANN7 and "The New Age" newspaper to Lodidox, which Mzwanele Manyi owns. Lodidox bought ANN7 (Infinity Media) for R300 million and "The New Age" (TNA Media) for R150 million.