Johannesburg - Allegations of bribery attempts and negative conduct by the controversial Gupta family drove Standard Bank to launch an internal probe and subsequently shut down Gupta-linked business accounts as they posed a risk, the state capture commission of inquiry heard on Monday.
Standard Bank's chief compliance officer, Ian Sinton, an attorney, testified before the state capture commission of inquiry on Monday.
He said the bank embarked on its internal investigation on Gupta holding company Oakbay Investments' accounts amid allegations of attempted bribery by the Guptas and their improper conduct reported by former deputy minister Mcebisi Jonas, ex-MP Vytjie Mentor, and fired government spokesman Themba Maseko.
The botched Estina diary project in the Free State and the then minerals minister Mosebenzi Zwane accompanying the Guptas to Switzerland on a Gupta private jet to negotiate the purchase of the Optimum Colliery coal mine from Glencore in 2016 raised red flags, indicating there was something wrong with the Guptas' business dealings, said Sinton.
''We were at risk as a bank in our continued dealing with these [Gupta] entities, as we would have been drawn into possible money laundering acts. A decision was taken based on those factors to terminate the banking relationships,'' Sinton said.