NEWS
13/02/2018 06:44 SAST | Updated 13/02/2018 06:44 SAST

Bank Of Baroda To Exit SA

The company reportedly wants to cut ties with the Guptas.

The Bank of Baroda headquarters is pictured in Mumbai, India, April 27, 2016. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
Danish Siddiqui / Reuters
The Bank of Baroda headquarters is pictured in Mumbai, India, April 27, 2016. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

The Bank of Baroda, known in South Africa as the preferred bank of choice for the Gupta family, is leaving the country. According to Fin24, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) said on Monday that it is in discussions with the bank to ensure no depositors are disadvantage during its withdrawal from the country.

The bank was reportedly fined R11-million by the SARB last year, leading to speculation that this was due its alleged involvement as conduit for the Gupta's state capture project. The official reason for the fine was that it was not doing enough to combat financial crime, according to Fin24.

The bank was the only one left in South Africa that offered services to the Guptas and their linked companies after other major banks disassociated themselves from the family.

The Indian state-owned bank agreed to hand over the Guptas' bank records to civil-society organisations following a request from the Helen Suzman Foundation and Freedom Under Law, according to eNCA.

Analyst Magda Wierzycka reportedly said the request was to establish the " precise quantum" of money "stolen" from Eskom.

"The numbers are much larger than what has been reported to date," she reportedly said.

The bank wanted to join the four major banks, Absa, Standard Bank, Nedbank and FNB in closing the Guptas' accounts, according to TimesLive. But the family obtained an order in the North Gauteng High Court preventing the bank from doing so. The Bank of China also closed the Gupta-linked accounts.

According to BusinessTech, the bank is thought to have as many as 35 Gupta-linked accounts. The bank reportedly said in court papers that it no longer wants to do business with the Gupta family, citing reputational damage.

The Guptas have reportedly been selling off their assets following the #GuptaLeaks revelations, starting with Tegeta Exploration and Resources, which was reportedly sold to a Swiss company for R2.97-billion. Its media assets were sold to Mzwanele Manyi in 2017.