Cigarette maker Gold Leaf's assets to remain frozen until 2023 - at least

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The SA Revenue Service is investigating Gold Leaf Tobacco for underpaying tax, among other things.
The SA Revenue Service is investigating Gold Leaf Tobacco for underpaying tax, among other things.
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Manufacturer of cheap cigarettes Gold Leaf Tobacco will have to wait until the end of January to try to convince a court that its frozen assets should be released. 

Two months ago, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria granted the SA Revenue Service (SARS) a provisional preservation order against Gold Leaf and its directors Simon Rudland and Ebrahim Adamjee.  

In securing the order, the tax agency argued there were reasonable grounds to believe that Gold Leaf and its directors had underpaid tax and hidden assets.

At the time, Raees Saint, legal representative for Gold Leaf and Rudland, denied that his clients were involved in any wrongdoing. 

Next hearing 

According to the provisional preservation order, the initial return date for the case was 7 November. At this hearing, the respondents get to argue why the order should not be made permanent.

The matter was heard briefly in court on Monday, where the date for the return hearing was extended to 30 January. This means the provisional preservation order will remain in place for the next two months. 

READ | Frozen Gold Leaf assets: SARS finally 'on the mend' from state capture, says Van Loggerenberg

The order stopped the tobacco group and its directors from selling any assets while the tax agency continues with a probe into tax evasion. 

When the matter was last heard, the court appointed a curator to immediately take control of the company's assets, including all bank accounts, investments and property. 

Rudland and Adamjee were also ordered to hand their financial records to the curator. Rudland had not, however, required to provide details about his international assets and income after he applied to keep these records hidden.

Gold Leaf holds the distribution rights for brands such as Voyager, RG, Chicago, Sahawi, Sharp and Savannah.  

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