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Press Release

New call for Gold Mafia arrests as SARS sues Sasfin for R4.9bn

Tuesday 27 February 2024 – TODAY’S news that the taxman has issued a damages claim of more than R4.87 billion against Sasfin Bank linked to alleged money-laundering has brought renewed calls for the immediate arrests of the criminal kingpins involved.

The Gold Mafia documentary, broadcast by Al Jazeera last March, exposed how rogue Sasfin employees were allegedly colluding with representatives of the Gold Leaf Tobacco Corporation (GLTC) to siphon billions in dirty money from South Africa’s illicit cigarette trade to safe havens in the Middle East.

A stock market announcement on Tuesday revealed that the Bank has received a civil summons for a total amount of R4,872,327,649.27 plus interest and costs in the form of a damages claim, instituted by the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

Tax Justice SA founder Yusuf Abramjee said: “SARS’ action and the recent announcement that it has made tax assessments of more than R10 billion against key players in the tobacco and gold industries are to be applauded.

“However, they beg the question as to why we still have not seen a single arrest of the kingpins who’ve been looting our country, while at least one of the alleged ringleaders is living a life of luxury in Dubai.

“It’s almost a year since Al Jazeera lifted the lid on how Gold Leaf’s operatives allegedly corrupted bank officials to set up a massive transnational laundry to wash the billions it makes from illicit cigarette sales. Yet despite SARS issuing a civil claim linked to their operations, the company is still conducting a business like normal in our country and no criminal action has been taken against those allegedly involved in the mass-scale looting.

“Why have we not seen arrests of Sasfin officials who were allegedly involved?

“If South Africa is to have any hope of getting off the financial crime greylist, authorities must be seen to act against the gangsters plundering our economy.

“The Hawks, SARS and the National Prosecuting Authority know the masterminds. Our enforcement agencies must act today, cancel their operating licences and bring these villains to court so justice can be done and we can start to repair some of the damage they have caused.”