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Banking & Finance
The VBS Mutual Bank scandal has widened after controversial and politically-connected Angolan banker and millionaire Álvaro Sobrinho lost his R144m investment in the bank, according to City Press. The deal with Sobrinho – a business partner of former Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos’ daughter, and who owns a bank and a football club in Portugal – was allegedly brokered by ANC Limpopo provincial treasurer Danny Msiza and young businessperson Kabelo Matsepe.
VBS Mutual Bank's executives carried out the country's ‘biggest bank robbery’ – and did so in designer suits – an advocate has claimed in the Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg). Michael Antonie SC, representing the curator in the VBS matter, made the claim during applications to have executives of the mutual bank provisionally sequestrated, notes a Fin24 report.
After two days of hearings into the allegations of collusion by major banks, the Competition Commission remains confident of its case, says a Mail & Guardian Online report. Despite some banks arguing it is everything from ‘vexatious‘ to ‘so overwhelmed by its own case’ that it cannot keep track of the details, the commission remains determined to have the merits of the matter heard.
Commercial banks accused of rigging currency trades have poked holes in the Competition Commission’s case against them, saying the watchdog is relying on broad accusations that lack specific evidence, notes a Moneyweb report. The commission’s case against bank traders began yesterday, with the Competition Tribunal hearing various objections from banks, mainly on the clarity of evidence, the jurisdiction of the commission over foreign entities, and the lapse in the period of bringing charges.
The family trust of former VBS Mutual Bank chairperson Tshifhiwa Matodzi was allegedly paid nearly R5m from Vele Investments’ heist of money from VBS Mutual Bank. A Mail & Guardian report says this has emerged from the ongoing investigation by VBS curator Anoosh Rooplal into the bank’s collapse and are contained in civil claims made against VBS shareholder Vele Investments and former bank officials.
Eskom is in talks to recover the interest on money paid to global consultancy McKinsey & Company, the electricity producer has confirmed, according to a Business Day report. The utility said it was in ‘protracted talks’ with the management consultancy to recover the capital amount, claim back VAT and recover interest accrued on the capital.
The state has lodged an 87-page application in the Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg) to go after the personal assets of the executives accused of looting VBS Mutual Bank of more than R1.5bn. Some of the executives allegedly lived the life of billionaires, raiding depositors’ money to purchase mansions, sports cars and a helicopter.
The SA Reserve Bank painted a grim picture yesterday that suggests as much as 75% of VBS Mutual Bank’s assets may have been stolen by its executives and directors, says a Business Day report. ‘It’s a travesty that the failure of management put so many depositors at risk,’ said SARB Governor Lesetja Kganyago.
A suitcase stuffed with R5m was flown to Johannesburg by helicopter and handed to a Public Investment Corporation (PIC) executive as a bribe from VBS, according to an affidavit by the broke mutual bank’s former head of treasury, Phophi Mukhodobwane. He says he received R10m for his part in defrauding VBS of just over R1.5bn, and spent R6.5m of his windfall on a Ferrari.
Cryptocurrency could be the new best friend for SA kidnappers to extort ransom money. The Star reports this is according to Institute for Security Studies’ Lizette Lancaster, who said the lack of regulation posed a huge challenge as transactions were extremely difficult to monitor.
VBS Mutual Bank claims the Public Investment Corporation was about to lend it R700m when the Reserve Bank placed the cash-strapped bank under curatorship, says a Sunday Times report. In court papers challenging the decision, VBS’ majority shareholder said the PIC had decided to lend the bank enough to keep it afloat amid a liquidity crisis.
As many as 15 municipalities could collapse because they are not likely to recover their R1.5bn investments at VBS Mutual Bank, suggests a City Press report. Their exposure to VBS was 'too large compared to their operating revenue', according to a Treasury document sent to the affected municipalities last week.
Steinhoff International Holdings said acting CEO Danie van der Merwe repaid a R26.4m loan backed by company shares that he took a week before the retailer’s stock collapsed, says a Moneyweb report. It claims the timing of the loan raises questions about how much he knew about the financial malpractice that has brought the company to the brink of collapse.
VBS Mutual Bank lent out large sums of money to its own directors, municipal officials and the SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) to finance a building the union already owned, claims a City Press report. At least five of VBS’ senior executives received mortgage loans running into millions between 2015 and last year.
The Competition Appeal Court has heard arguments on an appeal by Standard Bank against a Competition Tribunal decision that the bank was not yet entitled to have access to the commission's investigation record in a case in which 18 banks are respondents.