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#PanamaPapers: SA's NPA won't reopen Fidentia case

The Fidentia case implicated businessman Arthur Brown who was sentenced to 15 years for fraud.

FILE. Fraudster J Arthur Brown is led out of the courtroom in cuffs after judgment on 15 May 2013. Picture: Graeme Raubenheimer/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) says it will not re-open cases against two central figures in the Fidentia matter, as it doesn't appear as if funds were transferred to their offshore accounts.

Among millions of records released in what has become known as the Panama Papers scandal are details of offshore companies created on behalf of former Fidentia accountant Graham Maddock and broker Steven Goodwin.

However, the NPA's Eric Ntabazalila says they were already aware of this.

"They knew about the accounts that were opened, but there was no money that was diverted there. So there was nothing new and there's no reason to panic that a new investigation is going to be started."

The Fidentia case implicated businessman Arthur Brown who was eventually sentenced to 15 years in jail in 2014, for fraud.

He was first arrested in 2007 in one of South Africa's biggest financial scandals.

The matter related to Brown's handling of investments for the Transport Education and Training Authority and the Mantadia Asset Trust company between 2002 and 2006.

ANGOLAN OIL MINISTER DENIES WRONGDOING

Angolan oil minister José Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos said on Thursday he had done nothing wrong after a Panama Papers leak named him as having an interest in an offshore company based in the Pacific island nation of Niue.

Media reports based on leaked documents from a Panama-based law firm said Botelho de Vasconcelos was listed as one of two people who had power of attorney for Medea Investments Ltd, a firm founded in 2001 that valued its own capital at $1 million.

The company moved to Samoa in 2006 and became inactive in 2009, according to the leaked documents.

Botelho de Vasconcelos said there was nothing wrong in his involvement with the firm, which had not been active.

"In 2001, the Company Medea Investments Limited was created with the objective of participating in partnerships that, however, for different reasons, did not come to exercise any activity," he said in a statement.

"I have to emphasise that this action carried out in 2001, does not call into question the good name, in particular, nor of the country in general. I am aware of my moral duty, as a citizen and a patriot."

The Panama Papers, which included more than 11.5 million documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, were leaked to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. They then became part of a broader investigation coordinated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

The files, which contained the details of clients around the world, prompted Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, the prime minister of Iceland, to quit, put British Prime Minister David Cameron under pressure over his family's financial affairs, and brought calls in Ukraine to investigate President Petro Poroshenko.

Additional reporting by Reuters.