Guptas can 'run but can't hide' from reputation woes - analyst

Johannesburg  The reported departure of two of the Gupta brothers from South Africa would have little effect in alleviating their current business problems, financial analyst, Mathew Lester, said on Sunday.

“You can run but you can’t hide...” said Lester, a professor at the Rhodes University Business School, in response to a City Press newspaper report that Ajay and Atul Gupta left South Africa for Dubai on Thursday.

Their apparent departure came in the wake of a few of rocky weeks for the family following allegations they had offered ministerial posts in the Cabinet to ANC politicians, raising the issue of "state capture".

Subsequently, in March, auditors KPMG, banks FNB and Absa and sponsor Sasfin Capital all cut ties with Gupta companies, Oakbay Investments and Oakbay Resources and Energy.

This week, the Gupta brothers and President Jacob Zuma's son, Duduzane, announced their resignation from various positions in Oakbay companies.

Good corporate governance

On Sunday, Lester said the way the business sector had reacted in the wake of the revelations affirmed the practice of good corporate governance.

“In our private sector, modern corporate governance standards are working; if you haven’t got your reputation right, your stakeholders will walk away...

“If your reputation gets knocked up, you have a major problem in business.”

As such, said Lester, any reported move out of the country by members of the family would likely have little effect on repairing their business reputation in SA.

“Wherever in the world you run it [business interests] from, it doesn’t get around the problems."

The City Press reported that brothers Ajay and Atul, with their wives and five assistants and a "mountain of luggage, left in their private jet on Thursday night from Lanseria Airport.

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