Seventy-two transactions varying from R5 000 to R1.3bn involving the Gupta family have been identified as “suspicious” by the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC).
The 72 transactions worth R6.8bn that feature in a dramatic court application filed by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was flagged by the FIC because there had been “no apparent business or lawful purpose” for the transfers.
A source with knowledge of the matter has told News24 that the Gupta transactions were deemed “suspicious” by the FIC because they didn’t relate to any apparent legitimate business transactions involving the Guptas and their companies.
As determined by section 29 of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA), the FIC is by law privy to details on all bank transactions that raise concerns over the purpose of such transactions. Such “suspicious and unusual transactions”, as defined by the act, includes transfers that may relate to the financing of terrorism, the evasion or attempted evasions of the paying of tax or transfers that have “no apparent business or lawful purpose.”
It had been the latter consideration on the grounds of which the Gupta transactions were reported to the FIC as “suspicious” or “unusual”, says our source.
After being asked for information by Gordhan, FIC director Murray Michell decided to issue a certificate detailing suspicious transactions involving the Guptas and their businesses.
“I must emphasise that such a certificate is only to be used for the purpose of introducing evidence in legal proceedings and will only confirm or refute the receipt of reports pursuant to the FIC Act. Such a certificate will not disclose any information concerning the content of any particular report which the Centre has received,” Michell stated.
It is not clear whether the R6.8bn worth of transactions, which were concluded between 2012 and June 2016, is made up of payments into Gupta-linked accounts or from such accounts, or both.
According the FIC report included in the court papers filed by Gordhan at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Friday, the first of the red-flagged transactions were a series of transfers to or from an account held by Ajay Gupta between December 2012 and February 2014, totaling just over R80m.
The report details a total of 72 such “suspicious” payments.
Notable Gupta entities flagged in the FIC report include Shiva Uranium and Oakbay Investments. The two companies were respectively involved in alleged “suspicious” transactions worth R968m and R781m.
A R1.3bn transaction involving the bank account of the mining rehabilitation fund for Optimum – the coal mine the Guptas and Duduzane Zuma had bought this year – had also drawn the attention of the FIC.