Gupta bank charged with money laundering
Publish date: 12 March 2018
Issue Number: 765
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
A criminal complaint involving allegations of money laundering and corruption was opened against the Bank of Baroda by the opposition DA last week. TimesLIVE reports that the complaint, lodged in terms of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act, was in reaction to a report by the Organised Crime and Corruption Project which found that the Indian bank's SA branch had allegedly knowingly laundered money on behalf of the Gupta family. Among the project's findings were allegations that the bank's SA branch officials deliberately suppressed reports on questionable Gupta-related transactions, effectively leaving regulators unaware of them; some transactions and deposits lacked required documentation; and some of the funds supposedly originated from Eskom and Transnet. It was also alleged that there were millions of back-to-back intercompany loans with no legitimate business or legal purpose, and that cash flowing through Gupta family accounts was so voluminous that it dominated the transactions of the entire Johannesburg branch of the bank. DA MP Natasahe Mazzone said it seemed that the Bank of Baroda purposefully enabled the illicit flow of money from state-owned entities to Gupta accounts. 'If these allegations are true, it would be a violation of the FIC Act, which means there are grounds for possible criminal charges and/or fines,' said Mazzone.