The controversial Gupta family is making a move to buy their own bank, Independent Media reports.
According to IOL, the Guptas are approaching the leaders of the National Union of Mine workers (NUM) – which owns 50% of UBank – in a bid to warm them up to a potential takeover of the bank.
The union is reportedly divided on the idea, with some members unsure of whether such a deal should go through. NUM general secretary David Sipunzi confirmed that they had been contacted by the Guptas.
The move follows a total shutdown of Gupta accounts by every major South African bank in the past six months.
Starting with auditing firm KMPG, and followed by Absa, South Africa’s financial houses turned their backs on the Gupta family following allegations of state capture, which emerged in February 2016.
The family has been accused by several current and former government officials of using their friendship with president Jacob Zuma to influence government appointments and to secure lucrative government contracts.
Deputy finance minister, Mcebisi Jonas, brought to light the most damning accusation, saying he was offered the position of finance minister by the family before former minister Nhlanhla Nene was unceremoniously dumped in December 2015, which sent South African markets into a tailspin.
The family has not been formally charged of any crimes, and maintain that they are innocent.
According to the report, however, this is not the first time the Guptas have tried to own their own bank – NUM reportedly rejected a similar offer by the Guptas in 2014, indicating that the family had already seen trouble ahead.
According to the IOL, UBank is under financial strain, with the South African Reserve Bank demanding that it come up with a plan that will see them channeling at least R152 million into the bank by 2017.
Source: Business Tech