South African IT billionaire Mark Shuttleworth has succeeded in his R250 million court battle against the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb).
Shuttleworth made his fortune through the sale of Thawte Consulting, an internet security consultancy which he founded in 1995 in his final year at the University of Cape Town. He sold Thawte to VeriSign in 1999 for $575 million. At the time this equalled R3.5 billion.
Shuttleworth wanted to take R2.5 billion of his funds abroad. The Sarb levied a 10% exit tax, which he paid under protest. One of the points argued by Shuttleworth was that Sarb regulation that stipulated the 10% exit tax was not approved by national legislation and amounted to, “taxation without representation”.
The Supreme Court of Appeal handed down a judgment on Wednesday in which it ordered that Sarb return his R250 million to him, and pay interest on that amount at 15.5% per annum from April 2012.