Leaked emails and documents show that the Gupta family contemplated taking over Gindrod Bank, the bank used by the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) to provide social grants payments to millions of people.
Times Live reported on Wednesday the family, through their investment arm Oakbay Investments, wanted to buy the bank in November 2014.
According to the report, the Gindrod bid was "facilitated" by Vunani Capital, a shareholder of Gindrod. This happened after a bid by Bidvest was entered but had not yet been signed.
In an email in November 2014, Vim Rajbansi of Oakbay Investments' Group Business Development reportedly told Tony Gupta that the deal with Bidvest had fallen through. Rajbansi said she was considering a letter of interest "to see if we can pick this up at the right price".
She added that Vunani Capital had offered to facilitate the sale "because of their close relationship".
Ajay Gupta told her to sign an official expression of interest but the Guptas missed out when Bidvest signed an exclusive memorandum of understanding.
The emails reportedly show that since then, Oakbay tried to bid for 60% of U Bank, a bank which provides services to miners. This required the sign-off of the reserve Bank.
Vunani Capital head Mark Anderson told Times Live that Oakbay had approached the company for an introduction to Gindrod.
But he said that there was no interest in a meeting at the time.
"Public records clearly show that there was no facilitation or sale of this kind," he said.
Gindrod Bank managing director David Polkinghorne told Times Live that there had not been an approach.