Report: Bank of Baroda closes accounts of Gupta controlled companies

A Bloomberg report is quoting three separate sources, but there is no comment yet from the bank.

FILE: Bank of Baroda logo. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - The Bloomberg news agency is reporting that the Bank of Baroda South African branch has started to close the accounts of companies controlled by the Gupta family.

The agency is quoting three separate sources, but there is no official comment yet from the bank, while the Guptas themselves have denied the claim.

The big four banks closed their accounts with the Gupta family last year leading the family to claim they were the victims of a political agenda.

But court documents have revealed that the Financial Intelligence Centre had flagged nearly R7 billion worth of transactions by the Gupta companies as suspicious.

According to Bloomberg’s sources, these accounts are being shut down because they want to ensure they’re complying with local banking regulations.

If these accounts are closed, the Guptas and their companies would have no banking facilities left in South Africa.

The attorney for the Guptas Gert van der Merwe says he’s not able to comment on this at the moment.

He says the last bank to do business with them has not told them anything about closing their accounts.

The Bank of Baroda’s Johannesburg office says no one there can comment on this report from Bloomberg.

Van der Merwe says they have not been told anything about this.

“I think in due time we have to find out what is behind this.”

In September last year the Bank of China joined the local South African banks in also closing their Gupta accounts.

Last month, the Gupta-owned company Oakbay Investments said Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s legal response against them that was filed was a case of reverse victim syndrome.

Earlier in January, Gordhan said in his papers that the real plot was the highly organised campaign by the Guptas and their associates against the National Treasury, himself and others.

Gordhan was asking a judge to order that he does not have the power to force banks to reopen the Gupta’s accounts, in a case that’s revealed that the Guptas were involved in R6.8 billion worth of suspicious transactions.

In a statement issued, the Gupta family say that Gordhan’s affidavit is a case of reverse victim syndrome because he came after them and smeared their name with a flawed list of transactions.

They also say that he used his unique executive power to obtain that information and that he now questions the manner of their response to him.

Gordhan also strongly denied the Gupta’s claims that he was leading a conspiracy of business leaders against the family, saying the claim doesn’t make sense, as they had earlier asked for his help.

The Finance Minister also said the Guptas had not explained the source of this claim or how they came to hear of it.