More SA companies turn their backs on the Guptas

 ·11 May 2016

More South African companies are pulling out of Gupta-run businesses, according to a report by Reuters.

Citing sources close to the companies, it has been reported that at least two more companies in South Africa – Old Mutual subsidiary Mutual and Federal, and fleet management company, Eqstra – have cancelled contracts with the controversial family.

Further, the local branch of Avis has reportedly refused to take on business and rent cars to the Gupta investment group, Oakbay.

According to Reuters, Avis International said there was no order to refuse business from the company in South Africa, and that it would investigate.

This follows a mass exodus of financial institutions in doing business with the family, which was led by auditing firm KPMG and Absa bank earlier this year.

The Gupta family and their associated businesses in South Africa have become pariahs in the local market, following accusations from senior political officials that the family was involved with high-level political manipulation.

A number of ministers, former ministers and political figures have claimed that the family – who are personal friends of president Jacob Zuma, and have business dealings with his son, Duduzane – had offered them positions in government in exchange for favours.

Following damning claims from deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas, that he was offered former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene’s position before he was fired in December 2015, created a narrative of “state capture” around the family, which is has been unable to shake.

Despite the family having not faced any charges – and many of the claims remain allegations and speculation – businesses in South Africa have distanced themselves from the Gupta name.

Absa, FNB, Standard Bank, Nedbank, Sasfin and KMPG were the biggest names to drop the family in quick succession, making it “impossible” to do business in the country, and to remain listed on the JSE.

The family has since found a new auditing company to represent them, while the Bank of India manages their accounts. The family claims there is a political and financial conspiracy to strong-arm them out of the country.

More on the Guptas

Guptas buy R445 million villa in Dubai: report

Guptas tell ANC’s top six of wider conspiracy: report

Guptas ‘backed’ ANC Youth League leader’s bond for R5.4m home: report

Banks’ decision on Gupta company could deter investors – Cabinet

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