Johannesburg - Former Steinhoff International Holdings NV chairman Christo Wiese has reportedly been caught up in a case in which the South African Revenue Service claims that a law firm at which he was an executive, ENS, helped multinational oil company Tullow shift about R3.9 billion in assets out of the country to dodge taxes.
A report by investigative journalist unit amaBhungane published on Thursday said papers filed in the Western Cape High Court show that Sars is pursuing Wiese and two other people personally for R217 million as part of a R3.7 billion tax claim based on Tullow’s “restructuring ”.
AmaBhungane said ENS tax head Peter Dachs denied that Sars alleges any tax evasion “in respect of the merits” of a long-running dispute.
The report says Sars is claiming that ENS restructured Tullow, leaving it in charge of a holding company in South Africa that was largely a tax shell — which the law firm then sold to Wiese.
“When Sars came knocking, Wiese allegedly moved assets out of the company and sold it to a former ENS executive who told Sars there was no cash or assets left to claim,” amaBhungane reported.