Report: Guptas wanted legal advice to move billions out of SA

It's the latest in a series of revelations in recent weeks, showing the extent of the family's alleged dodgy deals.

Atul Gupta. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - It's now being reported that the Guptas approached several top law firms, seeking advice on how to move tens of billions of rand to the United Arab Emirates.

According to the Sunday Times, the timing of the inquiries suggests the controversial family tried to benefit from a treaty between South Africa and the middle eastern tax haven.

It's the latest in a series of revelations in recent weeks, showing the extent of the family's alleged dodgy deals.

The Guptas reportedly approached Webber Wentzel, ENSafrica and Hogan Lovells for advice on how to move their money, but were met with refusals.

It’s understood they then took the inquiry up with UK and US firms with the brief being “how an anonymous but prominent South African family” could be assisted in moving cash.

According to the paper, the Guptas wanted to make sure they benefitted from the bilateral treaty between South Africa and the UAE, which came into effect in March.

The treaty stops the South African Revenue service from taxing high net worth individuals on their global incomes and assets should they become UAE residents, by obtaining a three-year residency permit.

It's also reported that the family approached these firms for help on former finance minister Pravin Gordhan's court case. Last year, Gordhan told the family he was unable to help them fix their relationships with banks and could not have their accounts reopened.

The Guptas' lawyer reportedly confirmed they had approached US and UK firms for advice on the Gordhan matter, adding they approached South African law firms for "commercial advice".

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)