Johannesburg – Oakbay Investments hit back at reports that Bank of Baroda is closing the company’s accounts.
In an e-mailed response to Fin24, Oakbay said it was not aware that its bank accounts were being closed and that the reports were not correct. Further, the company claims such reports were "part of a ploy to put pressure on Baroda to close the accounts".
“We can only imagine that the sources relied on by Bloomberg – the publication who originally ran the story - had their own agenda, and want to put pressure on Bank of Baroda,” Oakbay told Fin24.
Bloomberg reported earlier that Baroda was ending its relationship with companies linked to the Gupta family to ensure compliance with banking rules.
Oakbay started banking with Baroda after the four major banks, Standard Bank, Nedbank, Absa and FNB closed the company’s accounts, in an effort to comply with international banking rules.
Oakbay sought the help of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to assist in getting the banks to reopen the accounts so the company could pay its employees.
Gordhan in turn responded by filing an application at the North Gauteng High Court to seek relief of the duty to intervene.
As part of the court application, Gordhan listed a Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) report detailing how the Guptas’ businesses made R6.8bn in “suspicious and unusual transactions”.
Oakbay filed a responding affidavit indicating that Gordhan had targeted the Gupta family, which led to the banks closing the accounts.
Gordhan filed a responding affidavit in which he indicated the decision by the four banks, as well as the Bank of China, to close the accounts were not attributable to him.
"I did not place 'pressure' on 'big business' to 'clip the wings' of the Gupta family and their business," he said in the affidavit.
The matter is to be heard later in March in the North Gauteng High Court.
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