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Two Suspects Charged for Ksh 7 billion Tax Evasion

by Peter Igesha -

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has today charged two suspects at the Makadara Chief Magistrates Court for tax evasion amounting to Ksh 7,069,975,452. The two, Mr Kevalkumar Navin Maisura and Ms. Arti Jagdiesh Bakrania (alias Ms. Arti Kevalkumar Maisura), were arrested after it was found out that they have registered more than nine business names and are believed to have made fictitious invoicing in excess of Ksh15,369,511,856. They are suspected to have defrauded or aided in defrauding the government approximately Ksh 2,459,121,896 in Value Added Tax and a further Ksh 4,610,853,556.80 in income taxes. Officers from KRA’s Investigations and Enforcement Department conducted a search on the residential premises of the two suspects on 4th April, 2018, and confiscated crucial documents and electronic devices including ten ETR machines. The suspects have been under surveillance for sometime. 

If found guilty by the court, the suspects will serve a jail term of up to 10 years imprisonment or a fine of double the taxes evaded.

The scheme

This case is part of an elaborate tax fraud scheme that KRA has been investigating for over one year. It involves some traders who have been claiming fraudulent purchases thereby evading payments of billions of shillings in taxes. A group of individuals who register several business names for fictitious invoicing perpetuates the scheme similar to the “missing trader” scheme in India and Europe.

In the scheme, fictitious invoices are generated to depict a business transaction whereas there is no actual supply or movement of goods and services. The invoices are generated and sold at a fee by the missing traders to existing companies purposely for use in inflating the cost of sales thereby reducing tax payable.

The major companies that have benefited from the missing traders syndicate are in various sectors including: construction, importers of hardware and household goods, scrap metal dealers and importers of electronic items including mobile phones.

Some of the companies import goods but under-declare the imports in order to pay less import duty and VAT. In order to claim Input VAT the companies’ then resort to buying invoices to inflate purchases, making purchases almost equal to sales thereby resulting into minimal VAT being paid.

Initial findings reveal that the government lost in excess of Ksh7 billion in terms of VAT alone over the last three years.

Next course of action

KRA is investigating approximately 66 missing traders and over 2,000 beneficiaries of the scheme. Investigations have been extended to those taxpayers who benefitted from the scheme, and taxes lost recovered through the relevant provisions of the tax laws. Prosecution of culpable individuals will also continue.

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Is nothing sacred?

by Fitzroy Drayton -

Catholic bishop is caught with £19,000 stashed in a false wall 'after group of priests stole £425,000 from donations and wedding fees over three years' in Brazil

  • Bishop in Brazil 'led group of priests embezzling £426,000 of church money'
  • One priest was fopund with  £19,200 hidden behind a false wall in his home
  •  Bishop of Formosa, five clergymen and three lay people arrested in Goias
  • They are accused of stealing from church donations, and ceremony fees

By Sara Malm For Mailonline

PUBLISHED: 12:24 BST, 26 March 2018 | UPDATED: 13:23 BST, 26 March 2018

A group of Catholic priests in Brazil have been arrested, accused of embezzling £426,000 of church donations, funeral fees and fundraising cash. 

The Bishop of Formosa, Jose Ribeiro, along with five clergymen and three lay people were detained in prison in Goiás this week charged with stealing over 2 million reais (£426,000) from church funds.

A police raid on one of the priests' home saw officers prise open a false wall in to find some £19,200 in plastic bags hidden in a secret storage space.

Cash stash: Police in Formosa, Goiás, Brazil, prised open fake panels in the home of Monsignor Epitácio Cardoso Pereira, to find 90,000 reais (£19,200) in plastic bags

Cash stash: Police in Formosa, Goiás, Brazil, prised open fake panels in the home of Monsignor Epitácio Cardoso Pereira, to find 90,000 reais (£19,200) in plastic bags

Arrested: Monsignor Epitacio Cardoso Pereira, pictured with another priest, are accused of embezzling over 2 million reais (£426,000) from church funds along with his colleagues

Arrested: Monsignor Epitacio Cardoso Pereira, pictured with another priest, are accused of embezzling over 2 million reais (£426,000) from church funds along with his colleagues

It's alleged the money was stolen over a three-year period from tithes, donations, fundraising events and from fees collected for ceremonies such as baptisms and weddings.

According to state prosecutors, the bishop, who was appointed to the Formosa diocese in 2014, is suspected of leading a sophisticated scheme that diverted funds from church coffers.

Phone taps uncovered the alleged web of deceit with conversations apparently revealing how the group laundered the money by purchasing a cattle ranch, a lottery agency, mobile phones, luxury cars, designer watches and gold chains. Large amounts of cash in foreign currencies were also found.

Accused: Bishop Jose Ribeiro is suspected of leading a sophisticated scheme that diverted funds from church coffers.

Accused: Bishop Jose Ribeiro is suspected of leading a sophisticated scheme that diverted funds from church coffers.

Prosecutor Fernanda Balbinot, said: 'There were indications the money was used for personal expenses and that cars from the Formosa diocese were used for private purposes.

'Instead of presenting tax bills and expense receipts with the correct amount, documents were allegedly produced saying there was nothing to declare.'

The investigation is reported to have also uncovered evidence that priests, involved in the scheme, paid the bishop a monthly 'protection allowance' of between 7,000 to 10,000 reais (£1,500 to £2,100) to keep their jobs.

Prosecutor Douglas Chegyry said to Brazilian media: 'The information we have obtained is that in order to remain in the more profitable parishes that generated more money, the priests paid a cash allowance to the bishop.'

In the raid on the home of one of the accused, Monsignor Epitácio Cardoso Pereira, agents used a penknife to prise open the fake panels to discover 90,000 reais (£19,200) in plastic bags hidden in a secret storage space.

Big haul: Police in Goias took hours to count the cash found in the home of Monsignor Epitácio Cardoso Pereira,

Big haul: Police in Goias took hours to count the cash found in the home of Monsignor Epitácio Cardoso Pereira,

Big spender: Police say that the priests laundered the money by purchasing a cattle ranch, a lottery agency, mobile phones, luxury cars, designer watches and gold chains

Big spender: Police say that the priests laundered the money by purchasing a cattle ranch, a lottery agency, mobile phones, luxury cars, designer watches and gold chains

They also seized three iPhones, a Macbook and found more money hidden in draws around the home which the defendant claimed did not belong to him.

Police officers were later filmed taking hours to count the haul.

The investigation into the Formosa Diocese accounts began last year after members of the congregation alleged irregularities and misuse of assets by the Catholic Church.

Churchgoers also claimed the expenses of the episcopal house rose disproportionately, from 5,000 reais to 35,000 reais (£1,000 to £7,500) following the arrival of Bishop Ribeiro. At the time, the cleric denied any wrongdoing.

Prosecutors have charged the defendants with misappropriation, money laundering, 'ideological falsehood' and criminal association.

Lawyers for the accused refute the charges and said they will prove their clients innocence.

Two days after the arrests, Pope Francis named Father Paulo Mendes, who is archbishop of Uberaba, as a temporary replacement in the Goiás diocese which has 33 churches distributed over 20 parishes. 

Read more: 
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Zimbabwe - Money Laundering Bill gazetted

by Kudzai Chinoda -

Zimbabwe - Money Laundering Bill gazetted

Zvamaida Murwira -  Senior Reporter

10 March 2018

Harare, Zimbabwe - Government has gazetted the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Bill which seeks to strengthen the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) by giving it autonomous powers to effectively combat the crime.

The Bill is also meant to ensure Zimbabwe complies with 40 recommendations by the Eastern and Southern African Anti Money Laundering Group where Harare was found wanting.

Promulgation of the proposed law is consistent with Government under President Mnangagwa’s thrust to ensure zero tolerance on corruption, as it seeks to quickly turn around fortunes of the economy.

Clause Four of the Bill set up the Financial Intelligence Unit formerly under the Bank Use Promotion and Suppression of Money Laundering Unit under Bank Use Promotion Act will continue in operation, but elevate its head to director-general from a director.

“The Unit shall be deemed to be in the administrative establishment of the RBZ having the following special features, namely that, (a) it shall be headed by a Director General appointed by the Governor of the RBZ in consultation with the Minister (of Finance) (b) it shall consist of such other members of staff as may be necessary for the performance of its functions, who shall be appointed by the Director General,” read the Bill.

“The budget of the unit (i) shall be approved by the Board of the Reserve Bank (ii) be managed by the Director General independently of the Reserve Bank, but be subject to internal audit by the Reserve Bank and be audited by the auditors of the Reserve Bank.”

The Bill also spells out the conditions under which the DG shall leave office, his qualification among other pertinent issues.

“Except as provided for in section 6B (2), the Unit shall have operational independence from the Reserve Bank and shall not in the performance of its functions under the Act, be subject to the direction and control of the Minister or any other person or Authority,” read section 6A (f) of the Bill.

The functions of the Unit are also spelt out in the Bill.

“Subject to this Act, the function of the Unit shall be (a) to receive suspicious transactions reports, cash transaction reports and other financial data from financial institutions, designated non-financial businesses or professions or from any other sources,” read the Bill.

Other functions include monitoring and ensuring compliance with the Act by competent supervisory authorities, financial institutions and designated non-financial businesses or professions.

“The Minister, after consultation with the Advisory Committee may in writing give the Director General, directions with regard to policy to be adopted by the Unit in the performance of its functions,” reads the Bill.

The proposed law empowers the Unit to have access to information from any financial institution, designated non-financial business or profession or law enforcement agency.

The Bill will amend section 27 of the National Prosecuting Authority (Chapter 7:20) section six of the Criminal Matters (Mutual Assistance Act) (Chapter 9:06) section 87 of the deeds Registries Act (Chapter 20:05) section 210 of the Customs and Exercise Act (Chapter 23:05).

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The 7th ARINSA AGM Relentless efforts continue to make sure criminals have nowhere to hide

by Kudzai Chinoda -

The 7th ARINSA AGM : Relentless efforts continue to make sure criminals have nowhere to hide

ARINSA Welcomes Angola and Uganda

The Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network for Southern Africa (ARINSA) held its Annual General Meeting in Gaborone, Botswana on 7 – 8 March 2018.

It was reported at the meeting that ARINSA member countries had seized USD 76m worth of assets in 2017.

This was a significant increase from the previous year which was reported at USD 23m. This surge has been largely attributed to the mentorship programme and the extensive training programmes that UNODC has been conducting in 2017, including Terrorism Financing, Cyber-Crime, Beneficial Ownership and Taking the Proceeds from Wildlife Crime.

More details are available in the ARINSA Annual Report 2017 on the link below: ARINSA Annual Report or by visiting the ARINSA website

The ARINSA network continues to grow and the AGM welcomed as new members, Angola and Uganda. This increases the number of countries that are members of the informal network to 15.

The meeting was attended by over 80 delegates (31 female) from all around the world and by members of the ARINSA network including Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Swaziland, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The meeting began with a key note address by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security for the Republic of Botswana, Mme Segakweng Tsiane, who highlighted that forfeiture or receipt of proceeds of crime is not an end in itself, but the beginning of a process of preserving and disposing of such assets in an efficient and effective manner. She called for high levels of integrity and value-based execution of jurisdictional mandate in doing so.

The Director of Public Prosecutions for the Republic of Botswana added on “… For this reason you have joined together as a network to fight a common enemy. I particularly note that not only do you share as a network the exchange of information, but thirdly that to a large measure you a share common jurisprudence assisting each other in the pursuit of a common objective to not only “leave the criminals with nowhere to hide” but fourthly to develop best practices and make the region safe and secure for all our peoples.”

Several international organisations including the International Centre for Asset Recovery (ICAR) from Basle, Switzerland and Camden Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network (CARIN) shared experiences and best practises on asset recovery. The United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) were also present.

Some recommendations arising from the meeting included:

•        more training programs for the judiciary, investigators and prosecutors.

•        UNODC to continue assisting with legislative amendments and policy developments

•        Countries should make us of existing agreements regional SADC protocols to follow the proceeds of crime in other jurisdictions.  

•        More awareness raising campaigns on asset forfeiture to be conducted by member countries to raise the profile of ARINSA   

•        Member countries should continue to access E-learning modules as a cost-effective measure to reduce training costs.                                             

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Mozambique - Bill On Financial Intelligence Office Passed

by Kudzai Chinoda -

Mozambique: Bill On Financial Intelligence Office Passed

Maputo — The Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, on Thursday passed the first reading of a government bill amending the 2007 law which set up the Financial Intelligence Office (GIFIM), in order to strengthen GIFIM's anti-terrorist role.

The government argues that the bill simply follows international norms to fight money-laundering, the financing of terrorism and other organised transnational crime. The bill defines GIFIM's task as to prevent the use of the Mozambican financial system, and any other sectors of economic activity, in such crimes.

GIFIM must collect and analyse information on suspicious economic or financial operations that might indicate money laundering, the financing of terrorism or connected crimes, and collaborate with law enforcement agencies in identifying funds and assets resulting from transnational organised crime.

The Office must also monitor implementation of sanctions decreed by the United Nations Security Council. This has become particularly relevant in the light of recent claims that Mozambican entities are violating UN sanctions against North Korea.

When there is sufficient evidence of money laundering or financing of terrorism, GIFIM must immediately call on the Public Prosecutor's Office to suspend the operations in question, and initiate criminal proceedings.

Introducing the bill, the Minister of Economy and Finance, Adriano Maleiane, said the government was bringing the law on GIFIM into line with various UN conventions and with recommendations from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

The FATF is an intergovernmental body, set up in 1989, by the G7 group of most industrialised nations in order to draw up norms for fighting such crimes as money laundering, nuclear proliferation and the financing of terrorism. These norms have now become a guide for all UN member states, each of which is supposed to set up its own financial intelligence unit.

GIFIM was thus part of an international anti-terrorist and anti-money laundering system, and as such it could not be out of step with the regularly revised FATF norms and standards.

The amended law, Maleiane explained, arose from FATF assessment of the Mozambican legislation. “We were assessed and we were told what changes we need to make”, he said.

He warned that there could be serious consequences if the law was not amended in line with the international norms - Mozambique could be cut off from the international money transfer system.

Nonetheless, opposition deputies opposed the bill. Both the rebel movement Renamo, and the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) demanded that the Assembly should elect members to the GIFIM Coordination Council, which the bill envisages as an entirely governmental body, chaired by the Prime Minister.

MDM deputy Geraldo de Carvalho claimed that GIFIM would be “subordinate to the government” and therefore “not independent”.

In vain did Maleiane argue that GIFIM is a technical, not a political, body. All opposition deputies voted against the bill.

It was the overall majority enjoyed by the ruling Frelimo Party which ensured the passage of the bill by 135 votes to 63.

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Court jails Stanley Mtambo for K78m Cashgate, walks free next month

by Kudzai Chinoda -

Court jails Stanley Mtambo for K78m Cashgate, walks free next month

Mtambo was convicted on November 2 2016 when he pleaded guilty to a money laundering charge.

Judge Semi Chombo sentenced since sentenced Mtambo to 16 months in jail.

The convict opted to start his sentence immediately despite the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale asking the court to put on hold proceedings into the sentencing of Mtambo until all the accused persons were sentenced in what is expected to be a lengthy trial.

And having served a large part of the sentence, he is expected to be out by first week of March 2018, his lawyer Andy Kawonga confirmed.

Kachale said prosecutors welcome a lenient sentence to Mtambo as it proportionate to the cooperation he rendered to investigating agencies and his decision to plead guilty early in the trial.

Judge Chombo also noted that Mtambo further helped the State about the availability of CCTV footage from Nedbank where his company, Walusako General Dealers, had an account and another Cashgate convict Leonard Kalonga and Mtambo had gone on one occasion to withdraw millions of cash “stashed in bags”.

But Mtambo will still be in dock as one of the accused persons in the K2.4 billion Cashgate also involving former budget director Paul Mphwiyo.

Others in the case include former accountant general David Kandoje and one Auzius Kazombo-Mwale and convicted civil servant Maxwell Namata denied various counts, including conspiracy to defraud, theft by a public servant, theft by a servant, negligence and money laundering, among others.

Others who pleaded not guilty to related charges were Steven Phiri, George Banda, Michael Mphatso, Samuel Mzanda, Andrews Chilalika, Clemence Madzi, Rosevelt Ndovi, businessperosn Stanford Mpoola,  Fatch Chungano, Cecilia Ng’ambi, Gerald Magaleta Phiri, Sympathy Chisale  and Ndaona Satema.

Businessperson Limumba Karim remains a fugitive of justice in the matter.

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Rhino poaching: Latest figures show a decade of bloodshed in South Africa

by Kudzai Chinoda -

Rhino poaching: Latest figures show a decade of bloodshed in South Africa

When just 13 rhinos were poached in South Africa in 2007, it seemed like the problem was nearly under control – but over a 10-year period, the numbers soared. We explore the legacy of conservationist Dr Ian Player, and the monumental task of keeping these beautiful beasts safe

·        Tony Carnie 


Dr Ian Player, the veteran South African game ranger and doyen of global rhino conservation, would be turning in his grave today were he to discover that another 1,000 rhinos had been slaughtered in the last calendar year.

The African-wildlife warrior died just over three years ago aged 87, at a point when poaching had just exploded to record levels in South Africa – with nearly three rhinos gunned down daily.

Annual government statistics announced last week complete the picture of 7,130 rhino carcasses piled up in South Africa over the last decade.

Shortly before his death, I visited Player at his home in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands to ask him about his thoughts on the poaching crisis and the future of one of the “big five” (lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and Cape buffalo) species he devoted most of his life to protecting.

Frail and dispirited, he had reached a point in life where he should have been taking things easy, after more than six decades of service to nature conservation. Instead, his cellphone rang incessantly as colleagues from all corners of the country reported the discovery of yet another rhino butchered for its horns.

Having worked so hard to save rhinos from extinction once before, there was no way Player could hang up his conservation boots amidst this new crisis.

He also told me about a dream that haunted him. “My dream was about a young white rhino which came to lie down next to me and then gently placed its head on my shoulder. That does not need too much interpretation – the rhinos still need our help more than ever before,” he explained.

Player, the elder brother of golfing star Gary Player, first came across a rhino in Imfolozi Game Reserve in the early 1950s when he joined the Natal Parks Board as a learner game ranger.

A disciple of Carl Jung and Sir Laurens van der Post, Player went on to spearhead a global operation to safeguard the world’s second-largest land animal from extinction.

Less than a decade ago, poaching deaths were limited to roughly 20 rhinos per year in South Africa, the country that provides sanctuary to 93 per cent of Africa’s white rhinos and nearly 40 per cent of the continent’s black rhinos.

In 2007, only 13 rhinos were poached in South Africa. But in 2008 that tally rose steeply to 80 deaths; to 333 in 2010 and then to a record level of 1,205 during 2014. Last year the death toll topped the 1,000 mark for the fifth year in a row.

To put this tragedy into some perspective, it is worth recalling that in 1897 there were only about 50 southern white rhinos left in the world – all of which were confined in the fledgling Imfolozi Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal.

When Player arrived in Imfolozi in 1952, the reserve’s tiny remnant population had increased to about 430 animals and he was anxious to ensure that this species should never again teeter so close to extinction.

With the help of fellow rangers such as Magqubu Ntombela, Norman Deane, Owen Letley, Nick Steele, Alpheus Ntuli, John Clark and veterinarian Dr Toni Harthoorn, Player and his team began a massive capture and relocation project known as Operation Rhino.


Their aim was to shift this precious cargo away from a single conservation area, spreading the risk out and also providing more living space for the rhinos to multiply. Between 1961 and 1972, more than 1,100 southern white rhinos were translocated from KwaZulu-Natal to other reserves in South Africa and elsewhere in Africa and also to zoos or safari parks across the world.

By the mid-Sixties, the strategy bore some early fruit, when the southern white rhino became the first animal to be removed from the most critically endangered schedule compiled by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Though the species was still not out of the woods, numbers grew progressively until 10 years ago, when South Africa boasted a population of almost 19,000 white rhinos – along with nearly 2,000 of the more endangered black rhino species that have been decimated elsewhere in Africa.

Last week, however, South African environmental affairs minister Edna Molewa confirmed that 1,028 rhinos were killed nationwide during 2017 – a very modest drop compared to 2016.

The reasons for the sudden upsurge in rhino poaching from 2008 onwards are complex and hotly-contested. Nevertheless, several observers attribute the upsurge to the South African government moratorium on the domestic sale of rhino horns that came into legal effect in early 2009.

While the commercial sale of rhino horns across international borders has been banned for nearly 40 years in terms of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, South Africa continued to allow domestic sales until 2009 – even though rhinos horns have no utility or real commercial value there (unless they can be smuggled clandestinely to the lucrative consumer markets in China, Vietnam and other Eastern nations).

When the domestic trade ban came into effect in 2009, the volume of rhino horns for sale locally dried up, allegedly fuelling a rapid spike in poaching levels - though the South African government has argued that there is no empirical link between the moratorium and escalation in horn poaching.

Late last year, private rhino breeder John Hume – who together with other private ranchers in South Africa owns more than 30 per cent of the country's rhino herd – overturned this moratorium after a series of court cases. Rhino horns can now be sold legally within South Africa again under a strict permit system, but the international trade ban remains in place.

Molewa signalled the government’s determination to curtail the poaching using a variety of strategies, yet conservation groups wonder how much longer the remaining South African population can sustain a death rate of more than 1,000 a year.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) warns that the rhino poaching crisis was not only spreading to include other wildlife species like elephants, but also impacting on rural people living around protected areas because of their exposure to organised crime syndicates.

“Overall 2017 also appeared to show a shift to poaching impacts on other species, with elephant losses in Kruger National Park reported to have increased to 67 in 2017 compared to 46 in 2016 – these are important trends to address now to be ahead of the curve and prevent the escalation seen previously for rhino,” WWF says.

Dr Jo Shaw, African rhino lead for WWF International, adds: “Wildlife trafficking remains a pervasive threat to rhinos, and increasingly to other species such as elephants and lions which bring tourists and jobs to our important protected areas.

“We need ongoing government collaboration between agencies, across borders and with the private sector and civil society to stop the damage being done to wildlife and people. At the same time, we need to work to find a way to empower people living around protected areas to benefit legally from wildlife and become invested in their survival.”

Fellow WWF campaigner, Dr Margaret Kinnaird, says: “News of the reduction in numbers of rhinos killed illegally in South Africa for the third consecutive year is encouraging. However, the numbers are still far too high. We must also shine a light on the ongoing struggles facing the people whose safety and livelihoods are threatened by this illicit trade.”

More effort was needed to stop the corruption that facilitated the illegal horn trade, and to change consumer behaviour – particularly in Asia.

Tom Milliken, a spokesperson for the global wildlife-trade monitoring network, Traffic, says: “The marginally lower total in 2017 still remains unacceptably high and with close to three rhinos illegally killed daily in South Africa, the bottom line is that the crisis continues unabated.”

Milliken says while there had been a “significant” drop in rhino deaths in the flagship Kruger National Park (504 killings in 2017 compared to 826 in 2015) the poaching crisis had largely been displaced to more vulnerable wildlife reserves elsewhere.

For example, 222 rhinos were killed in KwaZulu-Natal province last year (double the number killed in 2014 and a more than 10-fold increase compared to 2008) amid allegations of corruption in dealing with rhino-related crimes.

Worryingly, minister Molewa has confirmed that 21 suspects “from our own (conservation and law enforcement) personnel” were among the 581 people arrested last year for rhino-related crimes in South Africa.

Milliken noted that senior conservation officials had lamented the “increasing levels of corruption among our ranks, the police, immigration officials and other law enforcement and professional services such as veterinarians”.

Late last year, Traffic also published disturbing new evidence of criminal networks of Chinese origin operating in South Africa – processing rhino horn locally into beads, bracelets, bangles and powder to evade detection and provide ready-made products to consumers in Asia, mainly in Vietnam and China.

“Traffic calls on South Africa urgently to adopt and implement its national strategy to combat wildlife trafficking: the potential growth of new markets for rhino products is a deeply worrying development that needs to be nipped in the bud – we’re far from seeing the light at the end of this very long, dark tunnel,” Milliken says.

Shortly before his death in November 2014, Ian Player said: “There are people who say the government is not doing enough to save rhinos, and there are others who say there is too much focus on these animals at a time when so many people are still hungry.

“We all have a duty to the other forms of life we share this planet with. I don’t believe our generation has the right to just let the rhinos disappear.”


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#GuptaLeaks: Meet the money launderers

by Kudzai Chinoda -

#GuptaLeaks: Meet the money launderers

The Guptas used an international network of scrap metal dealers to launder hundreds of millions in kickbacks between China, India, UAE and SA. We introduce them.

It must have been good news for Piyoosh Goyal when the State Bank of India approved his Rs750m (R120m then) loan.

So good that he then sent his agent to a senior banker's Mumbai home on a Sunday with two expensive watches and a fistful of cash. At least, this is what the Mumbai branch of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) later claimed.

Their anti-corruption investigators had lain in wait, that November 2013, and they arrested Goyal's alleged agent when he emerged from the banker's home.

Then they raided the home where they said they found the two watches and the cash. Simultaneously, they raided Goyal's premises, where they claimed to have found "incriminating documents".

The investigators laid charges of bribery and collusion against Goyal, his alleged agent and the banker.

According to Indian journalists, the investigators' evidence included more than 70 hours of recorded conversations. They also interrogated Goyal's agent for half a day.

Goyal's Delhi-based scrap metal company, Worlds Window Impex India, issued a statement the next day denying the allegations.

The bank got two senior staffers to investigate. Within days, they cleared their colleague of wrongdoing.

But the CBI continued to investigate and, in January 2015, it filed a charge sheet with a Mumbai judge, a spokesperson told us.

"The matter is sub judice," he said, meaning CBI would not comment as the case was still before court.

Goyal's questionable Indian bank loan was just the tip of an iceberg.

In this article, we reveal that by the time CBI charged Goyal, he and Worlds Window had for four years helped the South African Guptas to move the equivalent of hundreds of millions of rand between China, India, SA and the UAE, using hundreds of suspicious transactions.

Devotee, entrepreneur

Goyal founded Worlds Window in Delhi in the 1990s. He was in his early 20s. Business people described him as a "first generation entrepreneur" and a "young and dynamic businessman".

He started by importing and trading scrap metal. Then he expanded the group into logistics, manufacturing and – after he met the Guptas in 2010 – coal mining in SA.

In 2008, Britain's biggest metal recycler, European Metal Recycling (EMR), bought a 49% Worlds Window stake from Goyal and other shareholders. EMR holds the stake to this day, and has regularly injected cash into the business.

EMR told us: "EMR is disturbed to hear press reports of the alleged involvement of Worlds Windows in money laundering, which we became aware of late last year through #GuptaLeaks. We are currently carefully looking at this investment as a consequence."

Worlds Window has claimed to be one of India's largest scrap importers; however, its financials suggest it was a relatively modest operation.

In the financial year ending in March 2011, the group's holding company, Worlds Window Impex India, bought scrap worth R1.7bn. This was about 5% of the total Indian imports at the time. It said it sold a little more than this and, after operating costs, was left with R57m.

We note these numbers because, as we shall see, they were small compared to the tide of money then washing between Goyal-linked companies and the Guptas.

Before the CBI bust, Goyal had kept a modest profile. He appeared on podiums and in a few puffy news pieces as the esteemed company executive. Otherwise, he occasionally graced the pages of International Society for Krishna Consciousness newsletters.

The society described him as a donor, "senior devotee" and the "midday meal director" for Sri Sri Radha Parthasarathi Temple's feeding programme, in south Delhi.

After the CBI bust, Goyal resigned as Worlds Window chairperson and vanished from public view.

He told us that because he had resigned, he could not answer our questions on Worlds Window's behalf.

Yet, analysts at an Indian credit agency still describe Goyal as Worlds Window's promoter. His father stayed on after 2013 as "group mentor" and a "key person", according to its website. And at least 41 Worlds Window companies remain registered to the address Goyal declared on his 2012 tax return.

Goyal gave us limited written comment for this article, and Worlds Window ignored us despite repeated attempts to elicit a response.

However, one man came forward to offer a spirited and detailed defence for them. He did not want to be named, so we shall call him Mr Patel.

Meeting the Zuptas

Mr Patel is a senior figure in Worlds Window.

He said Goyal first met the South African Guptas through a common friend in India in 2010. The Guptas then introduced Goyal to their business partner Duduzane Zuma, the president's son.

They encouraged Goyal to invest in SA, telling him: "We have lots of mines, and you will not face any problem. We know everybody."

Worlds Window quickly joined the "Zupta" party, it appeared.

An August 2010 accounting record from the #GuptaLeaks described that someone from Worlds Window spent more than Rs700 000 (about R100 000 then) on "SA… President's Clothes (Cash)… India". The Guptas later paid them back. Jacob Zuma had officially visited India two months earlier.

We asked Mr Patel if they had bought clothes for Zuma. He said: "I can remember cloth has been purchased for Zuma and his wife. There is chances payment made by us [sic]. Don't remember exactly. It was more than eight or 10 sets for each."

He added: "As I remember, president used Indian cloth in India, so assuming paid by Gupta as we never met president in India [sic]."

Jacob and Duduzane Zuma and the Guptas failed to reply to our questions. South African brother Atul Gupta previously told the BBC the #GuptaLeaks were fake.

That same month in 2010, Goyal and the Guptas did one of their first big deals.

It was dressed up as Worlds Window investing in two South African coal mines, but it appeared to be a sham, as we previously reported.

In the deal, a subsidiary of Worlds Window Impex India, the group's flagship, transferred $4.43m (R31.5m then) to the Guptas' Oakbay Investments in SA.

That was a lot of money for Worlds Window Impex; in fact, it was more than half of its operating profit for that year, so you would expect its subsidiary would have placed a reasonably sure bet.

Apparently not.

Worlds Window had paid for minority shares in two dormant companies that owned two questionable coal prospecting rights in SA – worse, share registers show the Guptas did not transfer the shares to Worlds Window.

Even worse, it appeared that there was no coal and the project was abandoned two years later.

Oakbay got money for nothing.

Our recent report compared this to two nearly identical Gupta deals in which they appeared to launder stolen Transnet and Free State provincial government money back home. It appeared to be a modus operandi.

But Mr Patel denied Worlds Window was party to a sham. He said the R31.5m was "for profitable mining". He said: "They issued the share to us, but they might have done a fraud [sic]." He sent us a copy of Worlds Window's purported share certificates.

Worlds Window sent its South African lawyers to investigate the fate of their money – but it only did this a full six years later, after the Gupta scandal blew up in SA. Mr Patel said the group was now considering taking legal action to recover the money.

Flying high

By early 2011, Worlds Window had registered two subsidiary companies here, and Goyal was a regular visitor.

The #GuptaLeaks show how Gupta employees made sure his travels were comfortable. They arranged his luxury airport pickups and Saxonwold meetings with South African Gupta brother Tony.

They hosted Goyal and his wife at their luxury Clifftop Lodge in Welgevonden Game Reserve in Limpopo. A helicopter was to transport the Goyals there, and the Guptas booked them into the lodge's honeymoon suite, according to the leaks.

In 2011, Gupta staff chartered flights to carry the Gupta and Goyal families from Delhi to watch the Cricket World Cup final in Mumbai. They were joined by the family of a powerful Indian politician who was at the time a cabinet minister.

India beat Sri Lanka by six wickets.

Later that year, Goyal and the Guptas handled some travel arrangements for the politician's adult son and the son's wife when the couple visited Cape Town for Christmas and New Year. The Guptas paid for their stay at the luxurious Queen Victoria Hotel at the V&A Waterfront, the #GuptaLeaks show.

More recently, Worlds Window transferred ownership of one of its shell companies to the politician – who refused to explain the deal to us (see story below: #amaBhungane: Indian politician's deal with Gupta partner).

In 2014, when Tony Gupta needed a helicopter for a 250km trip in the western Indian state of Gujarat, he called upon Goyal. Goyal wielded his apparently significant influence there: A senior Gupta staffer emailed him the travel details and Goyal forwarded this to billionaire industrialist Gautam Adani.

Adani and his global industrial group of the same name form a political and financial powerhouse in India. He is reported to be close to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Goyal wrote to Adani to vouch for the Gupta staffer: "He is Ajay's [one of the Guptas] brother can you help pls. Thx nd rgds."

Adani quickly wrote back: "I don't have helicopter, but if he require the plane let me know and will provide him... Gautam."

Not two years later, the Guptas and Adani cobbled together a would-be weapons deal that, as we previously reported, was set up to enrich them at the expense of South African state arms manufacturer Denel.

Down to business

Worlds Window's apparently pseudo mining investments and Goyal's South African visits seem to have set the framework for a more lucrative business – money laundry.

Some time back, amaBhungane received an anonymous tipoff implicating Worlds Window and the Guptas in ports corruption in South Africa in 2011.

It said: "ZPMC has been inflating prices of their cranes at the ports, particularly the seven cranes purchased for port of Durban, by more than 15% to accommodate bribes that included many senior Transnet officials."

ZPMC is the name commonly used by Chinese state-owned crane manufacturer Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries.

Our anonymous tipster described the alleged role of "a representative of the Guptas" who arranged kickbacks through a Worlds Window account in the UAE.

This was Naveen Agrawal, a long-time director of the Worlds Window group. He did not respond to our questions.

We found one chain of correspondence in which a group of people discussed ZPMC's crane bid. They named a "Naveen" who appeared to advise ZPMC on how to engage with Transnet on another crane tender.

We also found an "agent agreement" – often of a cover for bribes and kickbacks – between ZPMC and a UAE-registered company called JJ Trading. The contract and related documents explain how the cranes were only worth $81m (R570m then), but ZPMC inflated the price to $92m (R650m then) to make room for "commissions and fees" for JJ.

The person who signed on behalf of JJ was not identified.

At about the same time, a senior Gupta staffer emailed Goyal a confidential Transnet document, outlining a separate, upcoming crane tender.

The document metadata indicates it was drafted by an employee in Transnet's Office of the Chairperson and Group CEO. Then Transnet chief executive Brian Molefe told us he did not know how the Guptas got it. For years, Molefe has been questioned for his proximity to the Guptas.

ZPMC denied it was party to corruption; Transnet said it was investigating, and Goyal did not explain the latter email exchange when we asked.

So, who was JJ Trading, the company that had signed the "agent" agreement with ZPMC? Was it controlled by Worlds Window as the tipoff suggested?

A desert mystery

Ram Ratan Jagati probably did not intend to become the public face of an international money laundromat.

His social media profiles identify him as "manager at JJ Trading", but no-one answered his or JJ's phones or emails. We were left to piece together his profile using snippets of information online and in the #GuptaLeaks.

JJ's website advertises its experience as a trader of scrap metal, rice, beans and other commodities.

Jagati's social media profiles show him to be balding, moustached, bespectacled and neatly dressed. He appears to live in Sharjah, in the UAE, but states that he comes from Ahmedabad in India.

JJ is registered in the UAE's Hamriyah Free Zone, a financial haven that keeps company owners' identities a strict secret.

Jagati lists at least 41 Worlds Window staffers and directors as his Facebook friends – but emails in the #GuptaLeaks show he was more than just a "friend" to the group, particularly when moving money for the Guptas.

In one email to Jagati, a Worlds Window director said: "Dear Ram Ratan. Please provide [$1m] to Arctos." The director copied in a Worlds Window administrative employee.

Arctos Trading is one of the two Worlds Window subsidiaries established in SA. It managed a Gupta mine in Mpumalanga.

Jagati replied with proof of a $1m wire transfer from the UAE-registered IMR General Trading to Arctos. He copied two Worlds Window staffers.

Goyal at least part owned IMR, the #GuptaLeaks show. One online UAE business list recorded "" as IMR's contact – a misspelling of Jagati’s actual email address. Another listed "".

Jagati's proof of payment from IMR to Arctos claimed the money was for the "purchase of metal scrap", but a Worlds Window staffer then forwarded this to a Gupta manager "for your reference". A trailing email notes that it was "payment for [Bank of Baroda] instalment" – contradicting Jagati.

In other words, money had moved but the commercial explanation was a fiction. And the sequence of events reveals Jagati to have been a Worlds Window and Goyal factotum.

More emails underscored this.

Shortly after Transnet gave ZPMC the crane contract, a #GuptaLeaks accounting document appears to record JJ's receipt of $969 086 (R8m then). It is described as "Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries", ZPMC's full name.

Shortly after this, a Gupta accountant emailed his colleagues instructions on how to distribute a larger sum – $3.3m, apparently including the ZPMC payment – to three Gupta-owned companies in India.

One of the Gupta staffers then sent the email to Jagati and a senior Worlds Window accountant, and JJ promptly wired the funds from its account at HSBC to the three Gupta companies.

JJ and, again, Jagati appeared to answer to Worlds Window.

It wasn't me

No, answered Goyal. “I am not the director, promoter or even employee of JJ. We [Worlds Window] never received any money either from JJ or Gupta [or] ZPMC.

“I have neither met any officer/executive of ZPMC or Transnet, [and] we were never involved in any Transnet related business so I will be highly obliged if you don't link my name.”

He added: “For your satisfaction, we may provide you even certificate from chartered accountant that whatever business Worlds Window did with Gupta, it was 100% as per law. Even we declare all investment in our account books or whenever required informed government authorities also [sic].”

For several weeks, he did not come up with the promised accountant’s certificate. Then, in response to final questions last week, he again promised to produce one, supposedly to clear Worlds Window.

He told us: “You are misusing your writing power. With all respect, I have doubt on your intention.”

He later appeared to accuse us of drafting fiction: “Let me appreciate you are good story maker.”

Transnet spending spree

The next year, 2012, the Chinese state-owned locomotive manufacturer China South Rail (CSR) was bidding to sell Transnet 95 new locomotives.

Goyal and the Guptas got involved, #GuptaLeaks emails show.

In January, a CSR deputy director emailed Transnet CEO Molefe and CSR’s vice president. He attached a letter requesting to visit Transnet sites in South Africa.

The CSR deputy director forwarded the email to a Worlds Window group director, Rupesh Bansal.

Bansal forwarded the email to a Worlds Window staffer, commenting in broken English: “Please provide this letter copy along with update on previous email as required by Piyoosh Ji.” Recall that this is Goyal’s first name. “Please suggest him that this is the letter is sent and the points mentioned in letter are practical and to be pursued by CSR."

The Worlds Window staffer passed the email to Goyal’s assistant, who passed it on to a senior Gupta manager and to Ajay Gupta’s son.

Meanwhile, Molefe responded – politely and appropriately – to CSR. Someone also sent this email to Worlds Window and Goyal’s assistant. She passed it on to the Guptas.

Evidently, Goyal and the Guptas’ mutual interests extended well beyond mining.

Goyal failed to explain when we asked him too.

CRRC Corporation Limited, which absorbed CSR in 2015, has not answered our questions.

We could not reach Bansal for comment.


In October 2012, Transnet awarded CSR the R2.7bn 95-locomotive contract.

And, as we previously reported, CSR then started kicking 20% of the contract back to JJ and a related company called Century General Trading.

Century General is also registered in a UAE financial secrecy haven. Like JJ, its website claims that it trades scrap metal, grains and beans. And Ramratan Jagati – the JJ “general manager” who takes orders from Worlds Window and spends Goyal’s company’s money – registered its website.

A joint Worlds Window-Gupta accounting document, discussed later, shows CSR made one of its first payments – $6m (R50m then) –  to Century General in December 2012. In the following weeks, JJ and Century General wired at least $2m (R17m then) from their accounts at HSBC in Dubai to the Guptas’ front companies.

Next, Transnet ordered another 100 locomotives from CSR. These ones cost Transnet R4.4bn, and CSR started paying 21% of this to Jagati’s JJ and Century General.

And in 2014, Transnet ordered another 359 locomotives for R18.1bn. CSR started funnelling a further 21% to JJ and Century General.

All in, these non-descript little UAE metal, rice and bean dealers stood to earn a whopping R5.3bn in CSR payments. By comparison, this was more than three times the R1.7bn annual turnover for Worlds Window Impex, at the time.

JJ and Century General were to keep a 15% fee (R795m) on the Chinese kickbacks, the leaks show, way outperforming Worlds Window’s 3% operating margins (R57m) on its scrap metal.

The laundromat appeared to dwarf the Worlds Window front office.

Corporate espionage?

But Mr Patel, the Worlds Window insider, tried to convince us there was nothing out of the ordinary here.

He said of JJ: “They are professional consultant. They are associated with CSR for the last 10 years.

“JJ is not involved with Transnet deal. JJ has nothing to do with Gupta or anybody, and I don’t think you will find any deal between JJ and Gupta.

“CSR used to take help of JJ. They used to take help in Europe, Africa, India, Pak…, everywhere JJ’s consulting for them.”

We thought JJ just traded metal, rice and beans.

Nevertheless, things went awry in South Africa, Mr Patel said: “In South Africa, CSR cancelled their agreement with JJ. They say we cannot go ahead with you in South Africa. In this case JJ did lot of hard work. They have lot of expenditure for CSR, before tender.”

What sort of work?

“They hired eight or 10 guys in South Africa also, and they selected, they interviewed four or five black partners for them.”

How would a UAE scrap metal trader or its non-descript manager Jagati qualify for that job?

“Because CSR used to tell them: ‘Can we hire this consultant?’ Because being a government company, CSR cannot pay any money before tender.

“So, before tender they were required to hire so many people to do the research and consultancy and internal information. So, they hire JJ to finance all this information.

“So they hire people for intelligence. So, how much Bombardier will quote? How much GE [General Electric] will quote? So, even for this type of information, they hire people.”

Bombardier and GE were competing bidders on the Transnet locomotive contracts.

“They [JJ] have some intelligence system, as per my knowledge. Definitely they use someone to spy on somebody. Definitely. As per my knowledge. So many services.”

So many.

It was unfortunate that Mr Patel did not want to be named or explain more clearly the source of his apparent knowledge about JJ, so we asked him if he could get us documents detailing the alleged dispute between JJ and CSR.

He chuckled nervously: “Awww, ha ha ha. Why you want to? I will prefer if you write all Gupta instead of JJ. I would rather not.”

How can we reach JJ?

“Let me check, because I don’t want there to be any harm to JJ. Because I know because of internal story, JJ is in loss because of this deal, because they have been cheated by [CSR].”

“Flying Money”

Intrigued, we dug deep into the #GuptaLeaks to try to understand Worlds Window and the Guptas’ dealings.

We found huge sums of money flowing between the two groups.

Some of it was for legitimate business, as Goyal claimed. For example, Worlds Window subsidiary Arctos formed coal mining partnerships with two Gupta companies and managed their coal mine in Mpumalanga.

But other money flows were suspicious.

For example, we found a spreadsheet in the #GuptaLeaks, titled “Worlds Window”. It was attached to an email from one Gupta executive to her senior colleague. In the email, the executive typed: “Is this what u looking for?” No further context was given.

The spreadsheet is a ledger, recording 251 transactions from January 2010 until February 2013.

It looks a lot like traditional “hawala” bookkeeping.

Hawala is the name for an ancient form of money transfer developed in south Asia. It is still used today, often legitimately, as an alternative to formal banking systems. But because the money is not remitted through formal channels, it is a popular way to launder money.

The Chinese developed a similar system, known as “flying money”.

As a simple example, a man in the UAE wants to pay a woman in South Africa. He gives his money to an Emirati hawala broker, or “hawaladar”.

The Emirati broker will then send a message to a South African broker who will give the money to the woman there, minus a fee.

Both brokers will have many clients remitting money in both directions. Each broker will keep a running balance of how much he owes the other broker. Over time, the brokers will settle the difference.

The Gupta-Worlds Window “hawala” ledger describes a group of Worlds Windows-linked entities in one column. Other columns describe the transactions. Sometimes the explanations are cryptic, and sometimes they are clear. Overall, it appears as if the Worlds Window-linked “brokers” were transacting with Gupta-linked entities to remit money to and from South Africa, India and the UAE.

In some entries, it is easy to see how Gupta companies paid Worlds Windows companies in one country, and on the same day, the Worlds Window companies paid the Guptas the same amount in another country, and vice versa.

Thus, money was effectively “beamed” across borders.

Just like a traditional hawala ledger, this one keeps a dollar balance of how much the Guptas owed Worlds Window.

In total, $74m (R660m then) flowed into the account, and $74m flowed out, settling up the balance over time.

While the ultimate source and destination of the transactions is not always clear, some ZPMC and CSR payments can be traced from the Chinese companies, through JJ and Century General, for remittance to the Guptas in India, the UAE and South Africa.

A R76m roundabout

A number of transactions over six days in November and December 2011 were noteworthy. The transfers were recorded in the “hawala” ledger and are largely corroborated by other records in the #GuptaLeaks.

On November 30 and December 1, Gupta mining company Westdawn Investments transferred R44m to Worlds Window’s South African subsidiary Arctos. This was broken into four smaller amounts.

Immediately, Arctos transferred R44m to the Guptas’ Tegeta, broken into four differently apportioned amounts.

Tegeta kept R14.1m and immediately transferred R29.9m to the Guptas’ Oakbay Investments, which quickly parked R20m in an account at the Bank of Baroda in Sandton.

Four days later, Oakbay and a Gupta company described as “Islandsite” transferred R32m to Worlds Window’s Arctos. This was broken into five smaller amounts. Immediately, Arctos passed this on to Idwala Coal, a Gupta company, broken into three amounts.

Idwala immediately passed the R32m on to Oakbay, again broken into three amounts.

All in, the Guptas had routed R76m in a circle, through a number of their own companies, funnelling all of it through Arctos and back to their Tegeta and Oakbay.

The money flows appear to be artificial. We do not know their purpose, but in the process, the Guptas and Arctos employed three techniques common to illicit finance.

“Smurfing”: A money launderer breaks up and moves the money in small amounts to avoid detection.

“Layering”: Money is moved between numerous different accounts to obscure its source and destination.

“Roundtripping”: A series of transactions is made between companies serving to boost their revenues without real commercial benefit.


Gupta and Worlds Window companies often appeared to lend each other money, but the circumstances were suspicious, raising the concern that the loans could have been a fake cover for money movement.

If so, we again do not know the true motivation behind the flows.

In one example in 2013, Oakbay appeared to pay Arctos R86m. But the Guptas’ staff had a problem six months later: Their auditors needed documents to legitimately explain the payment, but there were none.

So, a Gupta executive emailed a Worlds Window manager a loan contract with non-descript terms. She said: “Please sign agreement as we did last year also.”

In at least two other cases, Worlds Window’s South African subsidiaries appeared to lend Gupta companies R16m and about $32.6m (R250m then).

In fact, the Worlds Window’s subsidiaries again appeared to act as unnecessary middlemen.

They channelled loans, originally from Bank of Baroda to the Worlds Window subsidiaries, straight on to the Gupta companies. The Gupta companies in turn repaid 9% interest to the Worlds Window companies, which passed this back to the bank.

In a 2014 email, a senior Gupta manager explained to Tony Gupta that, at times, Piyoosh Goyal had paid them “through [Baroda] loan”.

If so, it is possible Goyal or Worlds Window placed a fixed deposit with Baroda abroad. Baroda in South Africa then lent the money to the Worlds Window subsidiaries, which passed it on to the Guptas.

Indeed, Baroda described the $32.6m as a “loan against fixed deposit”.

If Worlds Window in South Africa failed to repay Baroda the underlying loan amount, the bank could simply claim the fixed deposit. Thus, money would have been moved from abroad to the Guptas under the guise of a loan, and Baroda would have earned itself a 9% fee.

We have found no evidence that the underlying loans were repaid to Baroda.

Loans from banks against fixed deposits are used for various legitimate reasons, but they tend to be between related companies, not unrelated parties in different countries.

The technique can also be abused to quietly move money across borders without detection, stymieing money laundering investigators who call this a “loan back”.

The Guptas used Baroda loan backs to move money in other suspicious circumstances, the #GuptaLeaks show.

For instance, the Guptas at times placed hundreds of millions of rand sourced from JJ and the Transnet kickbacks into fixed-term deposits at Baroda in both Dubai and South Africa. Using these deposits as collateral, Baroda would typically lend 95% of the value of the fixed deposit to another Gupta company. 

Without the #GuptaLeaks revealing the connections between the fixed deposit made by Gupta Company A to the loan made by Baroda to another Gupta Company B, it would be difficult for an investigator to follow the money trail from Company A to Company B as there would be no direct transfer.

Baroda’s intermediating the effective transfer between the two appears often to have served to obscure such money flows. Baroda did not respond to our questions.


In the end, things did not work out for the Worlds Window launderers.

“Gupta's have not just cheated South Africans but also cheated Indians,” Goyal told us.

“We went into partnership with the Gupta brothers for mining, and we were cheated by them in the business.”

Regarding one of their coal deals, he said: “After [them] receiving our payment, they have not allowed us to get any proceeds from the mine. We were not allowed to go on the property, and also they threatened us for not to even enter South Africa as they control things in the country [sic].”

He said the Guptas were now “illegally” selling Worlds Window’s coal.

“I have not even visited South Africa since last four years and we are now pursuing legal cases against Guptas.”

Worlds Window laid a criminal charge with the Hawks against a senior Gupta manager who allegedly stole R7.2m from one of its South African accounts in 2015. A Hawks officer confirmed he was investigating the charge.

Goyal told us: “You know very well I am in fighting with Gupta since approximately March/April 2013. But in your story, you are mentioning [payments in] 2014/2015. May I know the reason of that? I assume definitely 2013 is not fitting in your story so you prefer 2015.”

Indeed, records of Goyal’s trips to South Africa cease in the #GuptaLeaks from April 2013. But the leaks also suggest that, until late 2014, the money continued to flow between Oakbay and Arctos and JJ continued to pay into the Guptas’ UAE accounts.

But, nearly three years after the first Transnet kickbacks flowed to JJ’s accounts, HSBC shut down JJ and Century General’s accounts, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article.

HSBC told us: “To the best of our knowledge, HSBC previously exited, is in the process of exiting, or never had a banking relationship with JJ Trading [or] Century General Trading.”

But HSBC’s action seemed to be a minor inconvenience for the Guptas, who rerouted the kickback flow from JJ and Century General in Dubai to the HSBC accounts of a Gupta-related company, Tequesta, in Hong Kong.

By then, CSR had paid JJ and Century R1.6bn of the intended R5.3bn – and the #GuptaLeaks show substantial evidence of this flowing into the Guptas’ offshore accounts.

In a 2015 email, Worlds Window director Rupesh Bansal – the same one who received earlier CSR-Transnet correspondence and passed it on to Goyal – emailed CSR’s vice president. Bansal attached a spreadsheet that consolidated CSR’s payments to JJ and Century General.

The CSR man forwarded this spreadsheet to a Gupta email address.

Last week, Goyal said: “I repeat, Worlds Window neither control JJ nor Century General and never taken even a single penny from anybody on account of supply to Transnet.

“Apart from mining,” he added, “we had no areas of mutual interest with [the Guptas]”.

Britain’s biggest metal recycling firm holds a 49% stake in Indian firm Worlds Window, which moved hundreds of millions in kickbacks around the world for the Guptas.

The money flows are exposed in a new amaBhungane and Scorpio investigation (scroll up), based in large part on the #GuptaLeaks.

The British firm, European Metal Recycling (EMR), is a Liverpool-based business. It says its “heritage” reaches back to the 1940s. It turns over more than £2bn a year, and is largely owned and run by one family, the Sheppards.

EMR bought 49% of Worlds Window Impex India (the parent company) in 2008. EMR’s audited financials state that it “exercises significant influence over the operating and financial policies of” Worlds Window.

EMR has regularly injected capital into Worlds Window, EMR’s financials and other records show.

There is no evidence that EMR knowingly contributed to Worlds Window’s suspicious financial activity.

Between 2010 and 2015, Worlds Window directors and staff involved themselves in private bids for multibillion-rand crane and locomotive tenders at state-owned logistics company Transnet.

Offshore shell companies

The Worlds Window directors and staff then worked with offshore shell companies, which received “agent fees” – structured like kickbacks – and helped to disperse the money around the world, including to businesses associated with the Gupta family in South Africa and abroad.

Together, the Guptas and Worlds Window also moved more millions in many suspicious transactions, according to our investigation. These transactions bore multiple hallmarks of money laundering, although the source of the money was not always known.

The Guptas are friends with president Jacob Zuma and kept Zuma’s son on their payroll. They have been accused of grand corruption here.

This week, the Asset Forfeiture Unit moved to seize R1.6bn in assets linked to the Guptas and firms they did business with. It said it hoped to seize at least R50bn in 17 related cases under investigation.

EMR responded to our initial questions. It said that before 2008, it had “a pretty long established trading relationship with Worlds Window who effectively acted as a sales agent into India”.

It said: “EMR is disturbed to hear press reports of the alleged involvement of Worlds Windows in money laundering, which we became aware of late last year through #GuptaLeaks. We are currently carefully looking at this investment as a consequence.”

We had asked EMR if it also had a business relationship with a number of offshore company’s central to the laundering of Transnet kickbacks. These included JJ Trading, Century General Trading and IMR General Trading, all registered in UAE financial havens.

EMR’s response was confusing. It said: “EMR has no involvement with any of the companies mentioned, however a few companies have been counterparties in the legitimate trade of scrap metal.”

We asked it to explain, name its trading partners and provide evidence of legitimate business. It did not.

EMR spokesperson Olivia Healey sent us a general response, referring to a statement in EMR’s audited financials in which it classifies Worlds Window companies as “associate undertakings” because EMR “exercises significant influence over the operating and financial policies of the company”.

She said this statement “misrepresents the reality of this situation”.

She continued: “When consolidating our accounts, we work on standard assumptions as follows: ‘An associate is an entity in which the group has significant influence, but not control, over the operating and financial policies of the entity. Significant influence is presumed to exist when the investor holds between 20% and 50% of the equity voting rights.’ The important word in here is presumed. So, for the purpose of accounting, Worlds Windows is presumed to fall into this category as we have a significant minority interest.

“The reality of the situation is that [EMR] had no board representation and exercised no management control over the business. This financial investment was effectively managed by a post audit financial review which had not raised any red flags to date.

“So unfortunately, we are simply unable to assist you any further with your enquiries.”

Among our questions, we had asked EMR whether it knew about or had influence over Worlds Window’s business relationship with the Guptas, the apparent laundering of kickbacks via JJ and Century General and whether it condoned other suspicious money flows, outlined in our investigation (scroll up).

The Guptas chartered Cricket World Cup flights and bankrolled a luxury hotel stay for the family of Kapil Sibal.

Former Indian government minister and leading Congress Party politician Kapil Sibal has refused to explain a business deal with Worlds Window, a firm that apparently helped the South African Guptas to launder hundreds of millions around the world.

The suspicious money flows are explained in a new investigation (scroll up) by amaBhungane and Scorpio, based mainly on the #GuptaLeaks.

There is no evidence that Sibal was party to money laundering or corruption, but it is worth noting his refusal to explain a deal with Worlds Window, an Indian scrap metal and logistics conglomerate.

Sibal is also a top lawyer in India.

Between 2010 and 2015, hundreds of millions of rand flowed between companies linked to the Guptas and Worlds Window.

The money included Chinese kickbacks for Transnet crane and locomotive contracts. The transactions moved money between South Africa, China, UAE and India.

Lacking commercial substance

Many transactions appeared to lack commercial substance, although the source of the money was not always known.

Worlds Window was founded by Indian national Piyoosh Goyal.

After entering business with the Guptas in 2010, Goyal visited South Africa often. The Guptas also visited India.

In 2011, Gupta staff chartered flights to ferry the families of Sibal, Goyal and the Guptas between Delhi and Mumbai, for a Cricket World Cup match.

Sibal had been a government minister since 2004 and was, at that time, in charge of two portfolios: communications and information technology and human resource development. He was also a member of parliament.

Sibal was joined by his wife and adult son Akhil, also a lawyer.

Sibal senior said: “I have never had any dealings financial or otherwise with the Guptas. I have met Mr Gupta in Delhi only once when my friend Piyoosh Goyal invited me to watch the Cricket World Cup.

No Gupta invite

“We did not travel on the invitation of Mr Gupta nor am I aware of any charter by him. My wife, Akhil and I went on the invitation of Piyoosh. Even while watching the match we did not sit with Mr Gupta nor go to the ground with him.”

Akhil also said he did not know the Guptas had chartered the flight.

Later that year, the Guptas paid for Akhil and his wife to stay at the luxurious Queen Victoria Hotel at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront over Christmas and New Year, the #GuptaLeaks show.

Akhil said: “I had requested Mr Goyal to help with arranging a car in Cape Town, and offered to pay the charges… I have known him for several years, and he is my client.”

The leaks show Goyal passed the request on to Gupta staffers, who arranged the car.

Akhil said he tried to pay in full for the hotel accommodation.

But, he said: “At the time of checking out of the hotel in Cape Town, when we asked to settle the bill for incidental expenses at the hotel, apart from the room rate, which was already settled by us in advance, the hotel staff informed us that the incidentals had been settled at the instance of Mr Goyal.

“Subsequent to my return to India, I discovered the pre-paid charges for the accommodation were also reversed. None of this was done at my request. Despite my remonstrations with Mr Goyal, on his insistence, I accepted his generous gesture.”

The #GuptaLeaks show the Guptas’ company Sahara actually paid. Akhil said he had no knowledge of this.

In November 2013, India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) charged Goyal with allegedly bribing a senior state banker for a loan.

The CBI reports to a number of ministries, including law and justice. Kapil Sibal was law and justice minister from May 2013 to May 2014.

There is no evidence to suggest Sibal interfered in Goyal’s case. In fact, CBI told us that it filed a charge sheet with a Mumbai court in 2015.

The case is still outstanding.

The Grande Castello deal

Indian corporate records show that, in February 2017, Sibal became a director of Grande Castello. Until then, Grande Castello had been a 100% Worlds Window subsidiary. It appeared to be a shell company, without assets or revenues.

We asked Sibal to explain his directorship of “Worlds Window subsidiary Grande Castello”.

He was curt: “You don't seem to have your facts right.”

We provided him with details from the corporate records and asked him which facts were incorrect.

He stonewalled again, saying: “I have never been a director of any subsidiary company of any company.”

We provided proof the corporate register listed him, not a different Kapil Sibal.

He did not respond.

On further investigation, we discovered that Worlds Window had transferred ownership of Grande Castello into Sibal’s name in November 2016.

We explained this to him asked him to explain in light of his previous responses. We also asked him to explain substantial new loans on Grande Castello’s balance sheet and name the lender.

He said: “From your last mail, it is apparent that your assertion regarding Grande Castello in your first mail was incorrect. You now abandon that position, assert a new fact, and still wrongfully accuse me of lying.

Sans a relevant factual foundation, you nevertheless proceed from conjecture to wild speculation and deem it reasonable to ask unwarranted questions, entirely ignoring the categorical responses already provided to you, which sufficiently answer your queries.

“I am now convinced that your intent is mischievous and your approach less than objective. I don’t intend to correspond with you any further.”

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Eight held in anti-poaching breakthrough

by Kudzai Chinoda -

Eight held in anti-poaching breakthrough

Four men were arrested after police found a bloody axe and other weapons in their vehicle

Joint operation tracks rhino syndicate suspects from Eastern Cape game reserve to Free State

Eastern Cape authorities have bust another rhino poaching syndicate after eight suspected poachers were nabbed during a dramatic 48-hour operation that saw the gang tracked to the Free State. The eight men, mostly foreign nationals, were arrested for allegedly conspiring to poach rhino on the Great Fish River Nature Reserve, between Grahamstown and Fort Beaufort, at the weekend.

According to authorities, the same gang could be responsible for wiping out an entire rhino population at the Wildschutsberg Game Reserve in the Stormberg mountains near Komani in October.

The bust comes after six of the alleged poachers managed to evade arrest earlier by hiding out in East London before fleeing to the Free State.

The joint sting operation involved tactical response teams, Department of Environmental Affairs investigators and stock theft unit detectives.

The breakthrough comes only a week after the same team won several awards for their dedication in fighting wildlife crime.

The arrest came after a tip-off about possible poachers being spotted driving on a dirt road bordering the reserve fence.

Park rangers, together with other authorities, were placed on high alert.

“Three of the suspects were dropped off at about 6pm on Saturday and managed to get into the reserve,” an official, who cannot be named due to the sensitive nature of the probe, said.

“The bakkie they were transported in was then pulled off the road.

“Shots had been fired during the chase and the bakkie came to a halt on the side of the road. The two men inside were arrested.

“While this was happening, the other three must have heard gunshots and abandoned their plans.

“By this stage, it was raining and attempts to track them through dense bush proved difficult.”

The reserve anti-poaching rangers had been deployed throughout the night but efforts to catch the suspects failed.

“As the investigation continued, another getaway car believed to be part of the gang was seen in the East London area.

“It is presumed that these were pick-up and transport bakkies to smuggle horns out of the Eastern Cape and eventually across the border.”

Officials then tracked down the two bakkies in which the suspects had fled East London.

Police spokeswoman Sibongile Soci said as a result of intelligence gathered throughout the night, officials tracked down and stopped another bakkie on Sunday afternoon in Ventersburg. “Six suspects were arrested inside the vehicle.” Soci said, in total, two bakkies had been seized together with an undisclosed amount of cash in rands and US dollars as well as five cellphones.

In the vehicles, police found a .458 hunting rifle, 12 rounds of ammunition, axes and knives as well as night vision goggles.

Asked about ties to the Wildschutsberg reserve poaching in October, in which five rhinos were killed over a three-week-period – all shot with a .458 hunting rifle – Soci said: “Investigations are ongoing to link suspects to other crime scenes in the Eastern Cape and Free State.”

According to insiders, ballistics from the October poaching show the same hunting rifle was used.

Wildschutsberg reserve owner Greg Harvey welcomed the arrests.

“We realise that these are not the only poachers but this should at least slow them down.

“This is brilliant investigative work and should be applauded. This weekend our Eastern Cape authorities managed to save several rhinos.

“We must never lose faith in the war against poaching – this shows we are on the right track.”

Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism MEC Sakhumzi Somyo said: “I am glad we got these guys before they could kill or damage our wildlife. This must be a warning to all would-be poachers. We will get you.”

All eight suspects will be charged for attempted rhino poaching at various courts before all charges will be consolidated in Alice in the Eastern Cape.

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Mnangagwa urged to leave no stone unturned in recovering $15bn

by Kudzai Chinoda -

Mnangagwa urged to leave no stone unturned in recovering $15bn

OPPOSITION parties have welcomed calls by President Emmerson Mnangagwa for persons, who externalised money to return the loot within three months, saying the government must leave no stone unturned in accounting for the missing $15 billion diamond revenue.

Former President Robert Mugabe revealed the country lost $15 billion diamond revenue, which is widely believed to have been externalised by government officials working with rogue investors.

On Tuesday, Mnangagwa gave those who externalised money up to February to return their wealth or risk prosecution.
Opposition parties said Zanu-PF officials were largely responsible for externalising funds.

"Billions of dollars, particularly arising from the illicit sale of diamonds from Marange and Chiadzwa, were illegally externalised by these criminals. All this money should be brought back to Zimbabwe sooner rather than later," MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu said.

"The fight against corruption shouldn't only target small fish. Even the big fish must be fried. Corrupt deals such as the release of $5 million by former Energy minister Samuel Undenge to Wicknell Chivayo for the construction of a power project that never materialised should be thoroughly investigated."

People's Democratic Party spokesperson, Jacob Mafume said: "The challenge is that it can be just a money-laundering move if done selectively. The very same parties have been in government for a long time and they ought to know where it is. We need an audit on the diamond and other minerals revenue."

Transform Zimbabwe leader, Jacob Ngarivhume said Mnangagwa should lead by example.

"Zimbabwe needs to come out of this corruption and patronage system, which Mnangagwa helped build," Ngarivhume said.

Coalition for Democrats presidential candidate, Elton Mangoma said although he welcomed the move, those in Zanu-PF must be pursued with equal vigour.

"I hope he (Mnangagwa) knows where the $15 billion, that Mugabe spoke about, went to. I'm sure the money that is targeted is part of that $15 billion," he said.

Joice Mujuru's People's Rainbow Coalition urged the government to name and shame all the culprits.

"Above everything else, can the government name and shame all the individuals and corporates, who are behind the misappropriation of mineral proceeds of $15 billion, which is yet to be accounted for?" coalition's spokesperson, Gift Nyandoro asked.

Last year, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, John Mangudya said $1,8 billion was externalised in 2015 and out of that amount, $1,2 billion was siphoned out by corporates, with outward individual remittances accounting for the balance.



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