VBS Mutual Bank Gupta
VBS Mutual Bank Gupta, VBS Mutual Bank has declined to do business with the Gupta family, according to a report by the City Press.
VBS – the Venda Building Society – is the fifth local bank which has refused to deal with the family.
The report stated that VBS is the same bank which granted President Jacob Zuma a loan of R7.8 million which he used to pay for security upgrades to his home in Nkandla.
The City Press stated that two Gupta business accounts were closed in January by VBS, following discussions among the bank’s bosses.
A letter was then sent to Oakbay Investments, the Gupta family’s local holding company, stating that VBS was ending its relationship with it – in line with its risk appetite framework.
A source told the City Press that the Gupta family was not the bank’s top client, but they “would have had a lot of transactions”, which was “more work to track”.
In March 2016, the big four SA banks – FNB, ABSA, Standard Bank, and Nedbank – notified Oakbay they would no longer provide banking services to it or its subsidiaries.
Listing sponsor Sasfin Capital and auditing firm KPMG also cut ties with the company at the time.
The Guptas have even gone so far as to try to buy their own bank, to no avail
According to a report in City Press, the bank that granted President Jacob Zuma a R7.8 million loan to repay his Nkandla debts has become the latest bank to close its accounts with the Gupta family.
The paper reports that the Venda Building Society (VBS) Mutual Bank closed two of the family’s accounts.
The bank reportedly sent a letter to the CEO of the family’s Oakbay Investments to inform them that they did not have the risk appetite for the family and their accounts would be closed on May 22.
The decision means that no bank in South Africa is willing to do business with the family in the wake of allegations of suspicious transactions emanating from their accounts.
City Press also reported that the Guptas have attempted to buy their own bank, but this has so far failed.
Earlier this year President Jacob Zuma accused Standard Bank of abusing the court process to stop him and other members of Cabinet from exercising their executive powers.
The president, through the office of the state attorney, applied to be added as an intervening party to the then finance minister Pravin Gordhan’s application in the High Court in Pretoria for an order declaring that he cannot interfere with the decision of South Africa’s four major banks not to do business with the Guptas and their companies.
Standard Bank said in its replying affidavit it would seek an order declaring that no member of the national executive, including Zuma and all members of Cabinet, was empowered to intervene in any manner whatsoever in any decision taken by the bank to terminate its banking relationships with the Guptas’ Oakbay Investments and its associated entities.
It also emerged last year that there is apparently no trace of a loan from VBS issued to Zuma from the bank to repay his Nkandla debt. Netwerk24 reported that no such bond had been registered at the deeds office in Zuma’s name, as per the requirements of legislation.
The publication reported that, as part of its standard requirements, VBS can only grant home loans in the former homelands, where land is in communal possession (such as the land on which Nkandla is situated), where there is a title deed or an allocation deed.