Guptas' bulletproof luxury SUVs tucked away as questions swirl on the brothers' fate

2018-04-24 08:09
A black Infiniti vehicle is seen in the parking lot of Oakbay's offices. (Angelique Hartleb, News24)

A black Infiniti vehicle is seen in the parking lot of Oakbay's offices. (Angelique Hartleb, News24)

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It was one of the Guptas' favourite cars up until they fled the country.

Every day, the bullet-proofed black Infiniti QX80 could be found parked outside Oakbay's offices in Sandown.

But instead of being out in the sun for all to see, the multi-million rand luxury vehicle and its equally impressive mate, a black Porsche Cayenne, are hidden away in the corner of a parking lot of the Grayston Ridge Office Park in Sandown.

READ: See this list of more than 100 cars linked to the Guptas, including a Bentley‚ Lamborghini and Maserati

News24 visited the offices recently and saw the vehicles parked there. There were crates on the back seat of the Infiniti.

According to workers at the office park, the two cars were parked there around the time the Guptas were said to have left the country. And they haven't moved since.

Security features

The pair is worth a few million.

A standard specification Infiniti QX80 retails for about R1.4m. But the vehicle found by News24 was worth considerably more, owing to the added security features. The additional bulletproofing, ballistic glass and run-flat tyres almost doubled the cost of the vehicle to a secure R3.2m.

READ: Guptas ripped off poor in planned R1bn a year scam

Infiniti Melrose, the sole distributors of the Infiniti range of vehicles in SA, confirmed that a QX80 was sold to the Gupta-owned company Confident Concepts in late 2015.

However, staff were unwilling to divulge further information about the purchase price. Confident Concepts is one of several Gupta-linked companies that applied for business rescue earlier this year.

Quotations contained in the Gupta leaks emails show that the Guptas obtained quotes for an Infiniti QX80 in both B4 and B6 plating, amounting to R1.6m and R3.2m respectively.

READ: Gupta properties seized, brothers summoned by Indian tax officials - reports

Infiniti Melrose confirmed that the QX80 was outfitted with category B6 armour plating, sufficient to withstand fire from an AK47 assault rifle. Short of an attack from a high-powered rifle and dedicated armour piercing rounds, the occupants would be safe from most forms of fire.

Together, the two vehicles are worth an estimated R5m.

Gupta suvs
An Infiniti and Porsche Cayenne are seen in the parking lot of Oakbay's offices. (Angelique Hartleb, News24)

The Infiniti and Porsche just happen to be part of a court-issued restraint order obtained by the State under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA). The order was obtained by the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) on April 11 and a large number of Gupta-linked assets was attached.

The assets are connected to the accused in the Vrede dairy farm case and in total are worth an estimated R180m.

The long list of assets included numerous houses, the most well-known being the compound in Saxonwold, as well as cars, coal mines, the private jets ZS-OAK and ZS-AKG, as well as helicopters.

Assets

The respondents include current and previous Oakbay executives Asha Chawla, Nazeem Howa, Varun Gupta and Ronica Ragavan, as well as Estina director Kamal Vasram. Their personal assets, including property and vehicles, were included in the order.

The court list also included bank accounts held at the Bank of Baroda and First National Bank amounting to R22m.

The order indicated that the respondents or any third parties who may be in possession of any of the property sought under the order must, under POCA, surrender the property into the custody of the appointed curator bonis.

"Any third party who is in possession or control of any of the property or who acquires knowledge of this order is also ordered to surrender such to the curator within 24 hours of being informed," the papers read.

Clearly, nobody has handed over these two assets yet.

Shortly after the Saxonwold compound was raided by the AFU, the Guptas through their attorney Rudi Krause of BDK Attorneys, announced they would challenge the AFU's restraint of assets order.

The Infiniti QX80 and Porsche Cayenne Diesel are listed under their owner Confident Concepts (Pty) Ltd in the restraint order as well as a number of other cars, including a Lamborghini Gallardo, Land Rover and BMW Rolls Royce.

* Do you have information for our investigative journalists? Send an email to tips@24.com

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Read more on:    afu  |  gupta family  |  johannesburg  |  state capture  |  corruption

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