Bank of Baroda to exit South Africa after controversies
Bank of Baroda was the last financial institution in South Africa offering banking services to the Guptas’ Oakbay investment holding firm.business Updated: Feb 12, 2018 18:14 IST
Bank of Baroda, which became embroiled with the Guptas — scandal-ridden businessmen friends of President Jacob Zuma, has announced plans to exit South Africa, the central bank said on Monday.
The Bank of Baroda, the last financial institution in South Africa offering banking services to the Guptas’ Oakbay investment holding firm, did not immediately reply to requests for comment.
The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) did not disclose reasons for the bank’s departure, but said it was in talks to ensure its “orderly withdrawal from South Africa so that no depositor is disadvantaged”.
In September, Oakbay lost a court bid to keep their accounts open at Baroda’s South African unit.
However, the next month the High Court ordered Bank of Baroda to keep Oakbay’s and its subsidiaries accounts open, pending a final application. It is not clear whether the Gupta-owned firm pursued the matter.
The Gupta family is accused by a public anti-corruption watchdog, senior members of the ruling African National Congress and opposition parties of using their friendship with Zuma to influence cabinet appointments and win state contracts.
Zuma and the Guptas deny any wrongdoing.
Between December 2015 and April 2016, all four major South African banks - Standard Bank, Nedbank, Barclays Africa and FirstRand - terminated the accounts of companies controlled by the Guptas, citing reputational risk.
First Published: Feb 12, 2018 18:14 IST