JOHANNESBURG - Gupta owned companies got a temporary reprieve after the North Gauteng High court ordered the Bank of Baroda to keep Oakbay’s and its subsidiaries bank accounts open, pending a final application which must be launched in 15 days.
Judge Tati Makgoka on Monday ordered that the Gupta companies lodge their final application within 15 days of his judgment to allow the process to be expedited. "The interim order shall lapse if the applicants fail to launch the application in the timeframe stipulated,” the Judge said.
Bank of Baroda was due to close the Gupta-owned companies’ bank accounts on September 29 following a ruling made by Judge Hans Fabricius last month.
The Gupta companies pleaded with the court on the eve of the closing of the bank accounts, asking for them to stay open until December at least when they will then challenge the bank’s decision to close the accounts.
However, in the wake of Judge Fabricus decision last month, the companies approached the court in a bid to have the date of the main application, which was meant to be heard in December, brought forward.
Bank of Baroda had previously argued that it wants to terminate the accounts of Oakbay over reputational risks.
The bank had told the court that the Gupta family and its group of companies are conducting between 150 to 200 transactions a week and the bank has reported more than 30 suspicious transactions valued at R4.2 billion the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC).
The Bank of Baroda is the last bank of offer banking facilities to Oakbay after the country's big banks, the Bank of China had cut ties with the firm citing "reputational risks."
- BUSINESS REPORT