Gupta lieutenant Essa pulls out of Trillian

Johannesburg - Gupta lieutenant Salim Essa has sold all his shares in Trillian Capital Partners.

Essa's Trillian Holdings, which owned 60% of Trillian Capital Partners, disposed of all of its shares on Monday, selling it to Trillian Capital Partners CEO Eric Wood.

The acquisition brings Wood’s share to 85% with the rest of the shares owned by management and staff, Trillian said in a statement. The firm did not disclose how much Essa had shared his sales for.

The heat has been on Trillian in the last six months, with countless reports linking the firm to the controversial Gupta family and alleged State Capture.

Former Trillian Chair Tokyo Sexwale asked  Advocate Geoff Budlender to investigate the controversies after a whistleblower's account that Trillian executives had been aware that Nhhanla Nene would be axed as finance minister months ahead of time. Also former public protector Thuli Madonsela named Trillian in her State Capture report last year.

READ: Sexwale seeks authority over Trillian probe with judicial inquiry 

Budlender's report revealed concerning links to corruption at the company, and confirmed that the company was intrinsically linked to the Gupta family. Essa had refused to cooperate with Budlender during the investigation.

When the Budlender report was released last month, Sexwale singled out Essa for many of Trillian’s corruption problems. He said Essa, the majority shareholder of Trillian, has refused to meet him to discuss the allegations.

It has also emerged in the last month that Trillian had received nearly R495m from Eskom despite no contract being signed between the two companies. Trillian also received R96m from Transnet in a transaction that has been red flagged.

READ: How Eskom bankrolled Trillian without tenders or contracts 

Trillian said that the unrelenting media allegations arising from Essa’s holding has had a negative impact on the ability of Trillian Capital Partners and its staff to reach their full potential.

"It is therefore with regret that Essa has taken the decision to divest from the business," he said. 

Trillian said Essa has always maintained his innocence in the face of allegations.

It reiterated the belief that it has a team of excellent staff who are able to deliver on their mandates to the highest standards, and said it hoped they will be given a fair opportunity to do so in the future.

The transaction is part of the company’s strategy to reshape the business and continue to deliver "world class financial advisory and consultancy services", it concluded.

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