JUST IN | R520million of Gupta assets seized, including luxury properties in Joburg, Cape Town


  • The Investigations Directorate seized the assets of the Guptas and their friends worth 520 million rand.
  • The assets seized include luxury properties in Morningside, Saxonwold and Constantia.
  • Prosecutors also issued a Red Notice for Interpol to arrest the Guptas and extradite them to South Africa to face criminal charges.

The Investigations Directorate (ID) seized assets worth more than R520 million belonging to the Gupta family, their partner Iqbal Sharma and his wife, Tarina Patel.

The seizure follows a Bloemfontein Free State High Court ruling on Wednesday to grant ID an order to preserve the assets of Islandsite Investments, Sharma and Patel.

Islandssite owns over 40% of Oakbay Investments, a corporate structure that owns lucrative shares in several companies, a Gupta mansion in Saxonwold and the luxurious family home in Constantia, Cape Town.

READ | Iqbal Sharma, key Gupta lieutenant arrested in connection with the failure of the Estina dairy project

Patel owns a lavish mansion in Morningside, Johannesburg, which she bought for around R19million in 2018. The property features Indian-themed interior decor and elephants carved from marble and imported carpets. ‘India. The house presented on Top of the poster in February 2019.

Tarina Patel’s mansion in Morningside, Sandton. The house was featured in Top Billing in February 2019. Its rugs were imported from India. It features 400-year-old trinkets, also imported from India.

Tarina patel

Tarina Patel’s mansion in Morningside, Sandton. The house was featured in Top Billing in February 2019. Its rugs were imported from India. It features 400-year-old trinkets, also imported from India.

Tarina patel

Tarina Patel’s mansion in Morningside, Sandton. The house was featured in Top Billing in February 2019. Its rugs were imported from India. It features 400-year-old trinkets, also imported from India.

Tarina patel

Tarina Patel’s mansion in Morningside, Sandton. The house was featured in Top Billing in February 2019. Its rugs were imported from India. It features 400-year-old trinkets, also imported from India.

Sharma was arrested on Wednesday and appeared in Bloemfontein Magistrates’ Court in a R25 million payment his company, Nulane, received from the Free State Department of Agriculture between November 2011 and April 2012. The department hired Nulane to conduct a feasibility study to determine the viability of the failed R 288 million Estina dairy project in Vrede in the Free State.

Sharma appeared alongside Peter Thabethe, Dr Limakatso Moorosi and Seipati Dlamini.

Thabethe and Moorosi are former heads of the Free State Agriculture Department. Dlamini was the ministry’s financial director.

Red notice

The ID also issued a Red Notice – an international arrest warrant – for brothers Gupta Atul, Ajay and Rajesh on Thursday. Interpol should disseminate the Red Notice to its member countries.

The ID wants them sent back to South Africa on charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering in connection with the Estina dairy farm project. The Guptas – close friends and associates of former President Jacob Zuma – fled the country in 2018 and are believed to be in the United Arab Emirates.

The request to seize the assets of Islandsite, Sharma and Patel – filed by ID – showed that after paying the R25 million, Nulane subcontracted the feasibility study to Deloitte and paid $ 1, 5 million rand to the company.

The ID alleged in the claim that Nulane laundered the remainder of the money through a series of bank accounts linked to the Gupta family. Much of the funds ended up with Gateway, a Gupta-owned company incorporated in the United Arab Emirates.

In the request, the ID revealed that in 2011, the Free State Department of Agriculture identified the need for the Estina Dairy Initiative, initially known as the Mohoma Mobung Initiative.

READ ALSO | Estina dairy project: Iqbal Sharma remains in custody as two accused have been released on bail

Prior to that, the Prime Minister of the Free State, Ace Magashule, publicly announced the project in February 2012, an Indian company called Worlds Window Impex India Private Limited wrote to the department, offering to partner in the development of the project. Worlds Window recommended that Nulane be appointed to conduct the feasibility study.

“A few days later, approval to deviate from the tendering process was granted, based on a fraudulent misrepresentation that Worlds Window recommended Nulane, that it knew the quality of their work elsewhere and it was not possible to appoint another supplier. Based on the approval gap, Nulane was appointed at a significantly inflated contract price of R24,984,240 and in violation of the Management Act. public finances (sic) ”, we read in the request for identification.

The aim of the whole program, the ID said, was to “create a vehicle for fundraising for the benefit of the Gupta family (former directors and current sole shareholders of Islandsite)”.

Between November 2011 and April 2012, the department paid Nulane 24.9 million rand, according to the ID, adding that funds in Nulane’s account were mixed with funds from Islandsite and other companies linked to Gupta. , Pragat and Wone.

“When the funds arrived at Islandsite, they mingled with additional funds poured into this account, and at this point it became impossible to identify the flow, destination or subsequent purpose of it. In this regard, between November 8, 2011 and July 6, 2012, 522 million rand passed through the Islandsite Absa account (including the proceeds of the fraud on the department), “ID said.

Islandsite and Pragat’s Absa accounts, which received the department’s fraud proceeds, were part of the Sahara group of linked accounts using an Absa facility called “cash focus”.

Fraud and money laundering charges

The linked accounts, the ID said, included Absa accounts held by Atul and Rajesh and their wives, Chetali and Arti.

The ID said it intended to bring fraud and money laundering charges against the Gupta brothers and their wives, adding that:

Atul Gupta controlled all accounts linked by virtue of his position as Systems Manager for the Sahara Cash Accounts Discussion Group.

In July, several months after the department’s final payment to Nulane, the company remitted R19,070,934 from its Bank of Baroda account to an offshore account held by Gateway. Exactly R 19 million was sent back to Nulane’s Bank of Baroda account from Islandssite, via an intermediary called Pragat, a senior investigator said.

“The explanation given by Nulane for the transfer of funds to Gateway concerned services rendered under a subcontracting agreement between Nulane and Gateway. The outsourcing agreement was a fraudulent sham: it duplicated the services Nulane provided to Deloitte Consulting in terms of outsourcing the latter. agreement.”

The lead investigator said the evidence seen in its entirety “establishes a fraudulent scheme designed to extract funds from the Free State Department of Agriculture that were intended for an agricultural development project, launder the funds and put them away. available to companies controlled or associated with members of the Gupta family “.

Nulane’s bank account was a front used to launder money for Islandsite administrators, the demand said, adding that “the scheme was a springboard for a higher-value fraud known as Estina, which is the subject of a separate criminal investigation “.

ID’s lead investigator argued that there were reasonable grounds to believe that Nulane and Sharma may have received the proceeds of illegal activity, including related criminal activity amounting to R52.9 million. . Payments included:

  • 24 million rand paid to Nulane by the ministry;
  • R 8 million on Islandsite’s Nulane Nedbank account;
  • R 19 million paid into Nulane’s Bank of Baroda account. This amount does not include amounts paid by the Free State Department of Agriculture.

“I submit that Nulane received these products on behalf and for the benefit of Sharma, who was the controlling spirit behind Nulane and directed its actions, by virtue of his position as sole director and shareholder of Nulane and sole signatory Nulane Nedbank Further, I submit that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Islandsite received an amount of R19 million, which is the proceeds of the fraud paid into the Islandsite Absa account in accordance with the money laundering program. ‘money,’ the affidavit states.

The ID described Islandsite as a “washing machine”.

“The laundering of the proceeds of the fraud on the department is complete once it is entered into the Islandsite Absa account as it is mixed there with inputs and outputs of R522 382 617. R56 million without any discernible business justification.”



Source link

More Stories
I have proof of Pfizer vaccine imports – but I haven’t disclosed it yet