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Confidentiality be damned: SA must keep its eye on the money


Confidentiality be damned: SA must keep its eye on the money

Client confidentiality is important for honest citizens, but surely not for rampant state capture criminals?

Peter Hain

Because state capture in SA was in part facilitated by the complicity of global banks, corporates and governments (notably Dubai, India and Hong Kong), they each have a responsibility to help recover the billions of rand that were looted. Much of this was laundered abroad – part of about 5% of global GDP or a staggering $2-trillion laundered globally each and every year.

By allowing the Guptas to open local accounts, international banks (including HSBC, Standard Chartered and Bank of Baroda) granted access for the Gupta brothers to their global networks, enabling them to move huge amounts out of SA and then sometimes (as in the Estina dairy farm scandal) back in, undetected, for nefarious purposes. This despite clear warning signs of suspicious dealings, secretive transactions obscuring both the source of funds and the ownership of the accounts, and unexplained payments to and from third parties.

Governments also provided refuge for the Guptas and the means to continue their activities through less regulated “open” economies (the main culprits being Dubai, Hong Kong and tax havens in the Caribbean). Therefore, wholesale reform, improved corporate governance, increased transparency and more efficient global co-ordination is obviously needed to reduce financial crime.   ..

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