Top 5 on Fin24: Gupta case against Bank of Baroda dismissed, class action knocks Tiger Brands

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Cape Town – A roundup of Monday’s must-read financial and economic news.

Gupta case against Bank of Baroda dismissed 

The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria has dismissed the application of Gupta-linked companies against Bank of Baroda with costs.

Judge Ntendeya Mavundla on Monday ruled on an urgent application by 19 Gupta-linked companies to prevent the Bank of Baroda from closing its South African operations.

In his ruling, Mavundla said “the bank’s right to trade or not to trade supersedes whatever right, if any, the applicants might have”.

He further concluded that “the balance of convenience by far outweighs that of the applicants and tilts in favour of the respondent”.

The Bank of Baroda confirmed last month it was leaving South Africa, with the South African Reserve Bank saying it would ensure an “orderly” withdrawal.

VBS bank could come out of curatorship stronger – Treasury

Chairman of VBS Mutual Bank Tshifhiwa Matodzi (Pho

Chairperson of VBS Mutual Bank Tshifhiwa Matodzi (Photo: File, Gallo Images / Sowetan / Mduduzi Ndzingi)

National Treasury said placing VBS Mutual Bank under curatorship is a better option than liquidation.

The South African Reserve Bank on Sunday placed VBS under curatorship because of a liquidity crisis.

In August 2017, Treasury issued a circular informing municipalities not to make deposits into the mutual bank as this was prohibited by the Municipal Finance Management Act. As a result, several councils withdrew more than R1bn in deposits.

The decision to place the bank under curatorship was triggered on February 16 when the bank was unable to honour an obligation of the National Payments System, explained SARB deputy governor Kuben Naidoo.

#EskomInquiry: Guptas, Myeni dodge state capture hot seat

SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni. (File photo: Gallo Ima

The Gupta brothers will not be appearing before the Eskom Inquiry on Tuesday, according to its chair Zukiswa Rantho. 

The committee had planned to hear testimony from Gupta brothers Atul and Ajay, as well as Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba and former South African Airways board chair Dudu Myeni on Tuesday. 

But Rantho told Fin24 early on Monday afternoon that she received a letter via the inquiry’s committee secretary from the Guptas’ lawyers, to say their clients will not appear because they are not in the country.

Rantho said Myeni also sent a letter indicating she would not appear due to ill health. Myeni has dodged the inquiry a few times before.

Class action news knocks Tiger Brands

The share price of Tiger Brands  dipped by more than 5% in early trade on Monday, before recovering to trade a touch over 3% down on news that South African listeriosis victims plan to file a class action case against the group. 

Richard Spoor, known in South Africa for his work for mineworkers seeking compensation for lung damage, is teaming up with Seattle-based firm Marler Clark on the listeriosis case, he said on Monday.

The suit could be brought within the next two weeks. 

The group’s shares were trading down 3.3% at R355.95 at 15:46 on the JSE after reaching an intra-day low of R348.52. 

Tiger Brands’ Enterprise unit has closed two factories and recalled ready-to-eat meat products after government tests linked one of its facilities to the outbreak.

Crypto exchange offers a $250 000 bounty for hacker tip-offs

Cryptocurrencies

One of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges is going on the offensive to deter hacking attempts that have plagued the industry.

Binance, founded by Zhao Changpeng, is offering the equivalent of $250 000 (paid in cryptocurrency) for information that leads to the arrest of hackers who targeted the venue last week, it said in a statement on Sunday.

The exchange has set aside $10m for future bounties and is encouraging other platforms to do the same, it said.

Binance disclosed last week that it had been the target of a “large-scale phishing and stealing attempt”.

While the exchange said “all funds are safe”, Binance noted that it was unable to reverse some trades from accounts targeted by the hackers.

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