amaBhungane and Scorpio #GuptaLeaks: The confidence game – how professionals missed colossal fraud at the heart of Oakbay listing

The #GuptaLeaks prove what many long suspected: the November 2014 JSE listing of the Guptas’ Oakbay Resources & Energy – sponsored by Sasfin Capital, audited by KPMG and banked by Absa – was rooted in fraud. The Guptas not only appear to have violated JSE listing requirements, but also used the listing to launder R185-million – seemingly mostly stolen from Transnet – via Dubai, also defrauding the state-owned Industrial Development Corporation of hundreds of millions. At the time, the Guptas were already synonymous with scandal, and journalists raised alarm bells within days of the listing. Yet the professionals involved in the listing relied on the representations of Oakbay’s management and board, claiming they were under no obligation to conduct due diligence. For anyone that owns even a share of a JSE-listed company, the story of Oakbay Resources begs the question: If outside professionals standing behind listed companies blindly accept the word of already notorious individuals waving obvious red flags, is the JSE regulated at all? By AMABHUNGANE and SCORPIO.