Atul Gupta: There is no authenticity to #GuptaLeaks
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Johannesburg - Atul Gupta has disputed the authenticity of the #GuptaEmails, claiming they are part of an agenda to distort the family's name.
"There is no authenticity of #GuptaLeaks at all. They are all there for perception mongering to drive their own agenda. No one has ever showed me authenticity of these mails," said Atul, one of three Gupta brothers.
He was being interviewed by BBC Radio 4.
The notorious family has been accused of bribing their way to power through their close relationship with President Jacob Zuma. They have been accused of influencing the hiring and firing of ministers and benefiting from corrupt activities with state owned enterprises such as Eskom.
Thousands of the family's emails were leaked to the media and began to unravel the extent of the family's relationships with certain government officials and SOE executives.
Gupta said he didn’t know where the term white monopoly capital came from and denied that the family plotted a campaign to influence racial tensions in the country.
"I don't know where this narrative comes (about white monopoly capital) from. White monopoly capital, if you go to any revolutionary speech in this country, always exists. I don't know where this term comes from, believe me," said Gupta.
He said the London based PR firm Bell Pottinger was only hired to do corporate public relations for the family's company Oakbay Resources.
"I don't know where this narrative comes from and I don't think it comes any of our professional advisers. I would be shocked, they are very credible people and I don’t believe and they should do anything like that. Bell Pottinger is an ethical company, and I think a company like that should not be doing anything funny," said Gupta.
But his denials were contrary to those of the former head and founder of Bell Pottinger, Lord Bell, who said the family made it clear upfront on their plans to influence racial discussions in the country.
Bell said Tony Gupta flew them to Cape Town for lunch and couldn't stop bragging about his riches.
"The first meeting was listening to Tony Gupta tell us how wonderful he was and how he made so much money and never needed to earn more money, and he couldn't spend it even if he tried. And how he had done all these things and he was a great hero. The country adored him," said Bell.
"We spent the evening discussing what we would do, and it became quite clear what they wanted to do. They wanted to mount a campaign to encourage Black Economic Empowerment. He (Tony) never asked us to handle a PR campaign for him it was the Guptas, Oakbay came way after."
"The conversation was quite clear, he felt that he was stopped from doing things because he was the wrong colour and that white people only could raise money in South Africa," said Bell.
Bell said there was agreement that they would start marches that would revolve around the lack of transformation in post-Apartheid South Africa.
Black First Land First led by Andile Mngxitama is seen as one of the groups that's been hired to defend the Gupta family and protest about "white monopoly capital".
Leaked emails have revealed that Mngxitama was instructed to write certain articles for the family.