JSE probes 'suspicious' trades just before Zuma ordered Gordhan back from London

Intellidex chairman Stuart Theobald says there is some evidence that something strange could have happened in the market before Zuma took action against Pravin Gordhan.

Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) has confirmed that it’s now investigating a series of suspicious trades that took place just before President Jacob Zuma ordered then finance minister Pravin Gordhan to return home from London.

Two weeks ago Zuma told Gordhan to return home immediately, which led to the rand and banks shares losing value before Gordhan was eventually fired as finance minister.

The JSE says it’s now looking at numerous stock trades, including currency futures.

Intellidex chairman Stuart Theobald says there is some evidence that something strange could have happened in the market before Zuma took action against Gordhan.

“When you look at the trade volumes, you can see that on Thursday before the announcement happened on Monday, there was substantial increasing in volume happening. And then on Monday at about 8am when the markets opened there is also some very large trades taking place.”

The JSE says if it believes there is something that needs to be probed the trades will be sent to the Financial Services Board for further investigation and possible action.

It says it is also investigating whether anyone was able to make money out of that series of possibly suspicious trades.

It says once it's finished its probe, it will be up to the financial services authority to decide what to do next.

“It can levy quite substantial fines against people and the profits they’ve made. The Financial Services Board had done this numerous times, and we do get to definitive outcomes where definitive amounts of money are paid and fine are levied, and we know who’s responsible for doing so.”

Last year, the SACP said it believed there were indications that someone had managed to make a massive profit by selling the rand just before Nhlanhla Nene was fired as finance minister and then again before it became public that the Hawks were investigating Gordhan.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)