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Gupta looting: ‘International financial system is culpable’

SA needs to take back the billions looted from SOEs like Eskom, Transnet and SAA that have been taken offshore, says British politician Peter Hain.
British politician Lord Peter Hain speaking at the South African Property Owner's Association 2019 Convention in Cape Town. Picture: Sapoa

The international financial system is culpable and must now track down the money looted by the Guptas and repay it to National Treasury. 

This was the call by British politician Lord Peter Hain in his keynote address at the South African Property Owner’s Association (Sapoa) 2019 Convention in Cape Town on Wednesday.

South African-born Hain, an anti-apartheid activist, and in more recent years a vocal critic of corruption linked to the Gupta family and former President Jacob Zuma, said monies looted by the Guptas from state-owned enterprises like Eskom, Transnet and SAA needs to be returned to the country.

“It has been very painful [to watch], especially for veterans of the freedom struggle. Those people did not sacrifice so much to have their legacy looted. We’ve got to reclaim the Mandela values of integrity, good governance, social justice, equality and democracy,” said Hain.

“No global corporate should have anything to do with corruption, white-washing corruption or getting fat fees from looters, because it takes two to tango in the corruption business.”

“The significance of this for global corporates, is that it was alright for them to take part in this corruption business under Zuma and the Gupta brothers, when it was confined to domestic media and domestic politics here in SA. They seemed to be continuously getting away with it. But, when it went global, that’s when they got damaged,” he added.

Bell Pottinger

“When I named Bell Pottinger and asked the (British) government to take action against them for their vile, racist campaigns on behalf of the Zumarites and Guptarites, they (Bell Pottinger) went bankrupt in a week,” he noted.

Hain said when he later contacted the finance minister in Britain to “take action to stop the systematic, transnational financial crime network” facilitated by the Guptas and Zumas, citing the Estina Dairy Farm project, soon global media publications such as the Economist and New York Times were covering it.

He then went on to name British financial institutions and others such as HSBC, Standard Chartered and Bank of Baroda, which he said were “facilitating and acting as conduits” for the “massive laundering of billions of rand” mainly through Dubai and Hong Kong.

“They all came to see me at my office at the House of Lords … Why did they do that? Why did the international media report that for the first time? Why were they suddenly feeling the heat, these global corporates? Because, their activities here in SA in conniving with corruption had gone global. And, the same thing happened to KPMG and McKinsey and the international law firm Hogan Lovells,” the British politician said.

“The lesson is this – that in today’s world, discreetly or transparently, you simply cannot afford to be associated with state capture or corruption, or else you risk running massive reputational damage and lost business, which damages your own bottom line. We’ve seen that with KPMG losing billions in contracts. We’ve seen it with McKinsey. We saw it with Bell Pottinger,” he noted.

War on corruption

Hain said there needs to be a war on corruption in South Africa, which he noted President Cyril Ramaphosa is now trying to lead.

“President Ramaphosa has my support on the war on corruption, on organised crime, financial crime and tax evasion. The international business and financial community needs to support and cooperate with the South African Revenue Service and the Treasury, maybe with the local business community helping too with top legal, accounting, investigative and intelligence capabilities. It can’t just be business as usual any more than it can be government as usual, as it was in those disastrous Zuma years,” he said.

Hain said that there also needed to be cooperation internationally from countries, reiterating that the “main conduits” for money laundering by the Guptas has been via Dubai and Hong Kong.

“I think that the South African government is entitled to cooperation from those two jurisdictions, and from China, in tracking down this money and returning it. Dubai is the main centre for collecting money to make cash payments to bypass international anti-money-laundering laws,” he noted.

“I say this to the banks as well. HSBC and the rest must do more than they told me in coming to protest that I was damaging their reputation by naming them. They must do more than just closing old bank accounts and claiming client confidentiality stops them doing any more,” said Hain.

The author was hosted by Sapoa at the Sapoa Convention in Cape Town. 

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COMMENTS   19

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Peter Hain. A true patriot. And how many in our current government can you say of?

Well said Peter Hain, you have come a long way since your student days. Thank you from all of South Africa.

Thank you for bringing rational perspective!

So tell us how and give us a little help. All very well to say the billions must be repaid, not that simple and most likely impossible.

He seems to be a bit ill informed these day’s.

There is a new list of values by the next generation of a famous icon that does not include any of the old.

Does he actually believe the our man is in charge? Has he seen the latest parliament committee appointments?

They spending like R 400 million on a wedding. How does he suggest anybody will get it back?

Thanks for trying though.

Surely all the banks and central banks were involved in these transactions, they must know where the money went to….or is?

Pro: Particularly OUR Banks and OUR Reserve Bank.

You know it is bad when the main topic at SA’s premier commercial property event is State Capture and complicity by the world’s financial system.

An “Apartheid activist”…. Some might say that indirectly he was complicit in how SA has now turned out….

It may be that Peter feels culpable by assisting bring the ANC state capturers to power.

See the destruction your comrades have wrought on our country, Hain?

Not sure that’s fair Bob. The way I see it he spoke up for what he believed under the Nats and he is doing the same now. To lay the sins of the AMC at his door is a little harsh, no? I mean I too knew they were going to be bad but I had no idea how bad though.

I agree with your comment. Only the blind and ignorant were unable to foresee this outcome under the ANC.

I think he now feels guilty for enabling a corrupt organisation leading SA.
Too late however.

Aaah, Mr Hain, is the ivory tower you operate from not tall enough to see what has happened in and to the rest of this Continent Dear Chap???

It’s a numbers game old Fellow, and the population, education and culture numbers are not stacked in success’s favour I’m afraid!!!!

This horrible grey little man was one of the greatest supporters of the ANC for decades. Screamt anti apartheid from the rooftops while he avoided the non aryans in his private club in the West end!

The source of the capital flight is the ANC . They tolerated and co-operated with the Guptas, Watsons,etc.

Mr. Hain, just as Apartheid was not the answer – so Corruptheid is not the answer either.

Easy to comment when it’s not you being robbed.
The South African taxpayer has every right to start a class action against ALL those complicit in the looting of this country. And that includes every citizen because VAT is a tax too that EVERY South African pays.

End of comments.

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