Cape Town - Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on Monday, denied the claim by the Gupta family's Oakbay Investments that he had colluded with banks to harm the company, saying the banks acted because of the company's ties with "politically exposed" figures.
"Oakbay has indiscriminately advanced similar claims against others. But only now is it for the first time contended that I am somehow the author of a grand political plot against the Guptas". Oakbay has never suggested that the Minister is required to intervene in the bank-customer relationship.
Gordhan filed papers in the High Court in Pretoria in response to Oakbay's opposing affidavit, in which it asks the court to dismiss the minister's application for an order, declaring that there was no law which empowered him to interfere in the decision by South Africa's four major banks to close Oakbay's accounts and not to do business with them.
In his founding affidavit, Gordhan revealed that payments totalling R6.8 billion made by the Gupta family and companies they controlled, in 72 transactions, had been flagged as suspicious by finance authorities. "Not only is it inadmissible hearsay, it is also defamatory, scurrilous, vexatious and vague in the extreme".
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He's also said it's apparent the Guptas believe he sought a court order preventing him from intervening in their fight with the banks as a form of revenge, for what Gordhan describes as the discredited Hawks investigation against him.
He says he did so to protect the South African economy.
"It is the closure of the accounts which is the subject matter of (my court case)". He, as the person responsible for the functioning and wellbeing of the financial system, has a keen interest in understanding if, and how, he could intervene in a matter that affects the integrity of the system. "In truth what stands revealed as the real plot is the systematic and highly organised campaign by the Gupta family and its associates against the National Treasury, myself and other targets".
Representatives of the Gupta family have accused Finance Minister of having "reverse victim syndrome". "We look forward to clearing our name in Court". "The applicant proactively came after us and smeared our name with a flawed list of transactions - that he used his unique executive power to obtain - and then questions the manner of our response to him", a spokesperson said in a statement on Monday. "Our bank accounts remain closed and no evidence exists to prove why that is the case", the group said.
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