From CompliNEWS | Financial Service Intelligence Watch

SARS confirms R5bn Sasfin damages claim

Legalbrief today

SARS has confirmed it is suing Sasfin Bank for just shy of R5bn – more than half the bank’s balance sheet. A Daily Maverick report says the claim stems from billions channelled offshore via the bank by a coterie of alleged money launderers. In December SARS quietly lodged two damages claims in the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria): one for R1.97bn, involving 18 named companies, and another for R2.9bn, involving Gold Leaf Tobacco Corporation, which is controlled by Zimbabwean tobacco baron Simon Rudland. Aside from Gold Leaf, a number of the other 18 entities listed by SARS have ties with either Rudland or gold smuggler Andries Greyvenstein, their associate Howard ‘Howie’ Baker, and the duo who facilitated many offshore payments for them – Mohamed Khan and his partner Sohail Jiwani, now deceased. The SARS claims stem from enormous tax debts SARS alleges are owed by the various entities, which cannot be recovered because – in SARS’ view – Sasfin helped put assets out of reach offshore on the back of seemingly fake documents, many allegedly supplied by Khan. Four Sasfin employees have been singled out by SARS as having aided the alleged scheme. While the claim will certainly be defended, SARS’ demand of R5bn potentially represents an existential threat to Sasfin, which, as of the end of last year, had total assets of R9bn. Sasfin said in a statement it had received legal advice that SARS’ claims were without merit.

Read the Full Daily Maverick report here