Atul Gupta wealthier than Johann Rupert – report

Atul Gupta.
Atul Gupta.

Johannesburg – Atul Gupta, close friend to President Jacob Zuma and chairperson at Oakbay Resources and Energy, is wealthier than Richemont chairperson, Johann Rupert.

This is according to the Business Times Rich List 2016, released on Sunday. According to the report by Sunday Times, Atul Gupta is the seventh wealthiest South African and the top earning black businessman.

Gupta’s personal wealth is valued at R10.7bn, more than Rupert’s R10.6bn. Gupta did not feature on the list last year as Oakbay Holdings was only listed in November 2014, according to the Sunday Times.

Earlier this year the five major South African banks closed the Guptas' business accounts on suspicion of money laundering. An affidavit submitted by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in October highlights 72 suspicious transactions by the Gupta family worth R6.8bn 

READ: FirstRand first of the 'big four' to explain Gupta break-up

According to the list, Rupert's R10.6bn is attributed to his 100% stake in Remgro. Last month Rupert announced the abolishment of the CEO position at his Swiss business Richemont, as part of a largescale management overhaul. This was subsequently followed by the announcement of 210 job cuts at the Swiss watchmaking business as demand for gold and jewellery watches declines.  

Politicians also took a dig at Rupert this year, raising suspicion over his wealth. EFF leader Julius Malema accused Rupert of having influence over the South African Revenue Services (Sars). Earlier this year Edward Zuma, the president's son, opened a criminal case against Rupert for capturing the state before and after 1994.

In response to these claims, Rupert said that he had never done business with the state as he did not trust it. He added that the private sector created jobs, where government failed to do so. 

ALSO READ: Stop lying about me, Johann Rupert tells Julius Malema

Billionaire Christo Wiese topped the Rich List with R81bn. Glencore’s Ivan Glasenberg ranked second with R59.9bn.

Among those in the top 10 include PSG’s Jannie Mouton with R9.8bn and Naspers Group chairperson Koos Bekker came in with R9.6bn.

Patrice Motesepe, who has been a leading black business man on the list just missed the top 10, ranking eleventh with R9.5bn.

CEO of financial services group, Discovery, Adrian Gore made it to the top 20 this year, ranking fifteenth with a value of R5.5bn.

Shoprite’s Whitey Basson fell from ninth place in the previous year to position 29 with R1.7bn. Basson recently announced his retirement from the retailer group, after 37 years of service. 

The list is compiled by Who Owns Whom. It is based on the value of disclosed director’s holdings in JSE Listed companies. 

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