A confident Ajay Gupta – the man considered as the patriarch of the Gupta business family – has brushed off reports implicating his family and their companies in “suspicious” transactions totalling nearly R7bn.
Court papers filed by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on Friday, in application of an order that would absolve him of any responsibility to help the Guptas in their battle with South Africa’s major banks, include a report detailing transactions worth R6.8bn that were deemed to have been “suspicious” by South Africa’s Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC).
However, Gupta denied that any member of the Gupta family or any of their businesses had been involved in any dubious transactions.
“I really don’t know much about the papers (filed by Gordhan), but I can tell you that there is zero chance that any of those payments could have been suspicious in any way,” said Gupta.
He added that he had not had time to study the court papers.
It was not clear where Gupta finds himself at present, but he vowed to discuss the issue on Sunday, when he would be back in South Africa.
Gordhan has listed the so-called big four banks – namely Standard Bank, Nedbank, Absa and FNB, as respondents in his application. Gordhan would like to see the banks submitting to the court the reasons why they had terminated their relationships with the Guptas in order to determine if it had been done over concerns relating to possible contraventions of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (Fica).