Charles King SA court bid to halt Gupta mine sales dismissed

The ID photo that was attached to Amin Alzarooni’s South African visa application.
The ID photo that was attached to Amin Alzarooni’s South African visa application.

An urgent court bid by Swiss-based company Charles King SA seeking an interdict to stop business rescue practitioners from selling Gupta-owned Optimum and Koornfontein mines has been struck off the court roll.

The North Gauteng High Court on Friday ruled that Charles King’s application lacked urgency and ordered the company to pay the costs of two counsel.

Charles King earlier this month filed the urgent bid five months after its sole director, Amin Al-Zarooni, was notified that a R2.9bn sale of shares agreement he had signed with Gupta-owned Tegeta (the mine’s parent company) was cancelled.

Al-Zarooni is a Dubai-based businessman with links to the Gupta family.

It also wanted to interdict the sale of any assets. Such sales would depreciate the value of the shares they have already agreed to pay R2.9bn for, the company argued.

Charles King SA formerly entered into an agreement with the Gupta-owned company, under business rescue since February, to purchase the shares in August 2017. According to Ami Al-Zarooni, the sale of shares agreement is still in effect.

As part of the agreement Charles King paid a R64m "deposit". It failed to pay the full deposit, however, and subsequent attempts to pay a further R2.3m were blocked by South African banks, the court papers revealed.

Suspensive conditions 'not met'

Business rescue practitioners cancelled the agreement in April and have argued in court papers that the company failed to meet suspensive conditions included in the share of sales agreement.

This includes the failure to pay the full deposit, a resolution of the Charles King board approving the purchase of Tegeta, approval from the Competition Commission, consent of the sale from the Minister of Mineral Resources in terms of Section 11 of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, approval from the RBCT Company that OCT may be sold, consent from Eskom for the sale, and the provision of a Black Economic Empowerment partner that would acquire 30% of the shareholding. 

Charles King failed to meet any of these conditions by the August 31 deadline.

News24 understands that the R64m transaction is being investigated by the SA Reserve Bank for possible violations of exchange control regulations. 

Correspondence attached to the court papers shows that attorney for the business rescue practitioners Bouwer van Niekerk has repeatedly asked for the documents relating to SARB approvals, which Charles King SA and their attorneys have refused to provide. Tegeta owns Optimum and Koornfontein mines as well as Optimum Coal Terminal (OCT) – a company that holds lucrative export concessions at the Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT). 

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