Trillian Capital Partners dispensed R218m in shareholder loans to Salim Essa and another R320m to a Gupta-linked IT company. Much of that money is now irrecoverable.

A Daily Maverick report says these concessions by Trillian CEO Eric Wood form part of a legal challenge against a High Court order that it repay Eskom nearly R600m in fees raked in following a tainted deal that resulted in global consulting firm McKinsey & Co repaying the power utility just short of R1bn.

Wood, in the hope of taking his battle against the June 2019 court order to the SCA, names Essa as a beneficiary of exorbitant shareholder loans from the then-fledgling company, which had scored massive fees from alleged irregular deals involving state-owned entities.

In court papers filed in response to an application by Eskom that Trillian coughs up security for R595m before being allowed to proceed with an appeal, Wood says Essa, his former partner, had left a steep unpaid ‘shareholder loan’ account upon his departure from the company.

Confirming there is no cash left and that the company is effectively defunct, Wood has put a huge part of the company’s cash woes at Essa’s door.

But, notes the DM, he provides scant detail of those ‘shareholder loans’.

The court papers provide no names of exactly which Essa-linked companies the cash was paid to or on what dates they were made – details that could greatly assist state capture investigators in charting the flows of cash from Trillian to Essa and ultimately into the Gupta stable.

Wood has consistently denied his company was linked to the Guptas, saying although Essa held a majority stake until 2017, the Gupta kingpin was never involved in the running of the company.

Full Daily Maverick report