Millennium Post

Gupta family case: Bank of Baroda says will cooperate with S Africa in investigations

New Delhi/Johannesburg: Amidst probe over alleged fraud involving the Indian-origin Gupta family and former President Jacob Zuma, Bank of Baroda (BoB) today said it will cooperate in all investigations of the South African authorities.

Guptas, who were considered close to former President Zuma, had accounts with BoB, which has got permission to close down its operations in South Africa,

Bank of Baroda has cooperated with South African authorities in all investigations of matters relating to the Gupta family, including how the Guptas and their companies used their accounts at various banks in South Africa, the bank said in a statement.

The statement comes a day after the Hawks unit of the South Africa police conducted a search and seizure operation at its branches.

"The action by the South African Police Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation is no exception, as Bank of Baroda fully cooperated with the Hawks in all respects. Presently, we want to emphasise that this search and seizure operation is not for investigation on Bank of Baroda," it said.

This requisition by the Hawks is in relation to the continuing ongoing investigation of the Gupta family, it said, adding, the documents which have been requested by the Hawks are account opening, account statements and supporting vouchers.

The bank further said it will continue to cooperate with all investigations in which South Africa authorities seek the bank's assistance.

"We will continue to have physical presence in South Africa, notwithstanding closure of the banking operations, till regulatory investigations are concluded and we are informed by competent authorities that our physical presence is no longer required," it said.

The statement said many of these documents requisitioned by Hawks have been shared with the agency appointed by South African Reserve Bank as a part of their investigation and further some of these documents have been subpoenaed and been submitted to the investigating agencies, it said.

It is also alleged that BoB had been working with the Gupta companies after all South African banks severed ties with them following corruption allegations against Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta involving billions of rands.

The three brothers, as well as Duduzane Zuma, son of former president who was forced to resign February this year, are being sought by authorities investigating these allegations.

Having initiated closure of all Gupta-related accounts in July 2017, BoB ultimately ceased all banking operations in South Africa as of April 1, 2018, it said.

"The bank now is in the process of winding down and exiting the South Africa market in close co-ordination with the South African Reserve Bank. The exiting process from South Africa is in line with Bank's international reorganisation plans," it said.

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