#GuptaLeaks: The Dubai Laundromat – How millions milked from Free State government paid for Sun City wedding

2017-06-30 07:03

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Johannesburg - By all accounts, the 2013 Sun City nuptials of the Guptas' niece, Vega, was a dazzling display of the family’s wealth.

- #GuptaLeaks special report

“My wife and I were privileged to attend and enjoyed every moment and every occasion,” Kgosana gushed in a thank-you note to Atul Gupta. “I have never been to an event like that and probably will not because it was an event of the millennium.”

By allowing Linkway to account for the wedding as a "business expense", KPMG further ensured that the Guptas paid zero taxes on their Free State government windfall.

Also read: The Dubai Laundromat – How KPMG saw no evil at the Sun City wedding

"In this case, the wedding attendance was approved by our risk management and the accommodation costs were borne by KPMG…

Gupta Radical Economic Transformation, courtesy Mosebenzi Zwane

drove the provincial government to adopt the dairy project. Vrede is Zwane’s home town. The project was not put out to public tender.

recently claimed the #GuptaLeaks were an attack on committed government employees.

In 2013, amaBhungane established that Estina had an address that was also used by Gupta companies and that Kamal Vasram, its sole director, had ties to the Guptas. Despite these signs of Gupta involvement, the family denied any connection save for a R138 000 consulting contract performed by Linkway Trading - coincidentally (or not) the same company that features in this story.

Some of the cows on the dairy farm. (File, Netwerk24)

The Guptas’ Dubai laundromat milks the Free State

Financial records in the #GuptaLeaks show that over a six-week period between August and September 2013, Estina had transferred US$8 348 700 (R84m at the time) to the Dubai bank account of a Gupta-controlled United Arab Emirates (UAE) shell company, Gateway Limited.

That is, the entire R84m second tranche transferred by the Free State government to Estina landed in a Gupta-controlled US dollar account at Standard Chartered Bank in Dubai.

wedding celebrations were held at Sun City over four days at the end of April and beginning of May 2013.

The items for which Linkway invoiced Accurate ranged from R13 086 for chocolate truffles to R2.3m for scarves, R247 848 for fireworks and R13.9m for "event services". 

Accurate then immediately transferred US$1 986 000 to Linkway’s account at the State Bank of India in Johannesburg. The wire transfer confirmation notes an invoice number identical to the one contained in Linkway’s wedding expense invoice presented to Accurate.

This August 12 payment of the Free State’s cash via Dubai, however, fell short of Linkway’s invoiced amount of US$3 333 400 by US$1 347 400.

Wash, rinse, repeat

previously reported, US$3 448 800 (about R34m then) of the R84m that was sucked from Estina to Dubai in August and September 2013 was justified by a Gateway invoice for a milk pasteurisation plant to be supplied by Star Engineers, an engineering firm in the Guptas' hometown of Saharanpur, India.

#GuptaLeaks financial records, however, show only a tiny fraction of that - US$165 610 – was transferred to Star Engineers during the course of 2013. Whether that was the full amount paid to Star remains unclear.

A spokesperson for the bank said: "Standard Chartered takes its responsibility to combat financial crime very seriously and is fully committed to doing business in accordance with local and international regulatory and legal requirements."

The reception was held above the Valley of the Waves at Sun City. (File, Netwerk24)

Zwane's continuing committed public service

racism targeting him  – the leaked documents suggest that perhaps Zwane’s apparent blind loyalty to the Guptas is not entirely reciprocated.

Even the Guptas’ now-mortal enemy, Peter Bruce, the former editor of Business Day, snagged a higher spot (235) than Zwane on the guest list.

• Scorpio is the Daily Maverick’s new investigative unit. If you'd like to support its work, click here.

• The amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism is an independent non-profit. Be an amaB supporter to help it do more. Sign up for its newsletter to get more.

Read more on:    gupta family  |  dubai  |  bloemfontein  |  gupta emails  |  gupta leaks  |  state capture
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