Reserve Bank must pay R250 million to Mark Shuttleworth

2014-10-01 17:01

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The South African Reserve Bank has to pay billionaire and space tourist Mark Shuttleworth more than R250 million.

He took on the Reserve Bank, minister of finance and president on an exchange control regulation that imposed a 10% exit levy on assets exported on emigration.

The Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that the 10% export levy that he had paid the Reserve Bank amounted to a “tax”, and was not lawfully levied.

Shuttleworth, who made a fortune selling his company Thawte to Verizon in 1999 for $575 million, took the Reserve Bank to the appeal court after his initial applications were unsuccessful.

The court upheld his appeal and ordered the South African Revenue Service to repay R250.47 million with interest.

Shuttleworth said in a statement published by Moneyweb that he is still considering taking this to the Constitutional Court “to challenge exchange control on constitutional grounds and ensure that the benefits of today’s ruling accrue to all South Africans”.

He said he is giving the funds he gets back from Sars to a trust “run by veteran and retired constitutional scholars, judges and lawyers, who will selectively fund cases on behalf of those unable to do so themselves, where the counterparty is the state”.

Shuttleworth emigrated to the Isle of Man in 2001, a move he said was precipitated by exchange control which restricted his investments outside the country.

His blocked loan account was over R4.2 billion at the time of his emigration, and R2.5 billion by June 2009, on which he was charged the levy.

He paid under protest and then turned to the courts to challenge the validity of the regulation that the Reserve Bank had relied on.

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