NEWS
16/01/2018 09:04 SAST | Updated 16/01/2018 09:04 SAST

London Law Firm Accused Of Money Laundering At SARS

It is alleged the firm produced a “fatally flawed whitewash” report into claims of money laundering at SARS.

Dylan Martinez / Reuters
Peter Hain

Former British Cabinet minister and veteran anti-apartheid campaigner Peter Hain has told House of Lords that he had reported global law firm Hogan Lovells to the Uk's Solicitors Regulation Authority(SRA) over state capture in South Africa, The Gaurdian reported.

This follows concerns that the firm had produced a "fatally flawed whitewash" report into claims of money laundering at SARS.

A spokesperson for Hogan Lovells rubbished Hain's allegations as "unfounded" saying it reflected a lack of understanding of the work they were asked to carry out for the South African Revenue Service.

"If Lord Hain does have evidence of corruption, then that should be reported to the appropriate authorities in South Africa. We look forward to working closely with the SRA on any complaint that Lord Hain might have made to them," the spokesperson said.

According to reports, Hain's speech has dragged the law firm into the growing South African political scandal, which has already tainted several British companies.

"It should be a matter of shame that companies headquartered here in the UK have aided and abetted money laundering, corruption and state capture in South Africa – including Bell Pottinger, KPMG, McKinsey, SAP, and banks such as HSBC, Standard Chartered and Baroda – in total betrayal of Nelson Mandela's legacy," Hain said in a speech to the Lords.

The claims against the firm relate to the firm's investigation into allegations of corruption against the SARS deputy commissioner, Jonas Makwakwa, who, along with his lover, was alleged to have siphoned off about R1.7m (£100,000). Makwakwa denies any wrongdoing.

"The law firm issued an incomplete, fatally flawed whitewash of a report, which ultimately cleared Makwakwa, despite reams of evidence to the contrary," Hain said.

"Most damning of all, Hogan Lovells failed to include crucial evidence from the PwC report and the status of the Hawks [economic crime police] investigation in their own report."

Hain also said the Hogan Lovell's report led to the reappointment of Makwakwa. He accused him and his boss, SARS commissioner Tom Moyane of continuing "their looting and dirty work of robbing taxpayers".