FirstRand closed the Guptas’ bank accounts because it suspected they were being used for money laundering, the banking group said in a High Court affidavit.
The Sunday Times reported that the affidavit was the first to be filed in the Pretoria High Court in response to an application from Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.
Gordhan wants the court to declare that the government has no authority to intervene in the decision by the big four banks – Absa, FNB, Nedbank, and Standard Bank – to no longer do business with the Guptas.
In the affidavit, FirstRand CEO Johan Burger wrote that they terminated the business relationship because of the associated reputational and business risks.
Burger said they have an obligation to comply with international best practices, as it is expected from the SA Reserve Bank.
Apart from its obligations under South African law, FirstRand also has to keep UK and US regulations in mind – due to transactions and counter-party relationships not being limited to South Africa.
The full report is available in the Sunday Times of 4 December 2016.