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South African court denies Gordhan protection in Gupta, bank dispute

PUBLISHED: Fri, 18 Aug 2017 13:31:38 GMT

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A South African court denied on Friday an application by former finance minister Pravin Gordhan for an order that would block the ministry from any involvement in a dispute between banks and the Gupta family, businessmen accused of influence peddling.

Standard Bank, Nedbank, FirstRand and Barclays Africa last year closed the bank accounts of companies controlled by the Gupta family following accusations they had undue influence over President Jacob Zuma and the issuing of government contracts.

Gupta-owned companies asked Gordhan, an outspoken critic of Zuma and the Gupta family, to intervene and force the banks to reopen their accounts, prompting him to ask the High Court to declare it was outside of the remit of his ministry.

A Pretoria high court called Gordhan’s application unnecessary, local media reported.

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Zuma and the Guptas have denied any wrongdoing.

Reporting by TJ Strydom; Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Ed Cropley