JOHANNESBURG Dec 15 Standard Bank has
asked a court to block the South African government from
intervening in its decision to cut ties with the Gupta family
which is at the centre of allegations of influence-peddling with
Standard Bank is one of four banks in South Africa to have
closed bank accounts of companies controlled by the Gupta
family, the subject of an anti-corruption investigation into
allegations that they hold undue sway over President Jacob Zuma.
Standard Bank's court filing is in support of October's
application by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan asking a court to
declare he could not interfere with the banks' decisions.
In April, Zuma had set up a committee to patch up relations
between Gupta company Oakbay and the four banks.
Zuma denies granting undue influence to the Gupta brothers
who run a business empire ranging from media to mining, or to
anyone else. The Guptas have denied seeking influence.
In an affidavit filed in a Pretoria court this week,
Standard Bank lawyer Ian Sinton asked the court to prevent the
government from further intervening in its decision to terminate
its relations with Gupta-owned companies, or Oakbay Investments.
"Standard Bank contends that the intervention that has
already occurred and that which is being considered by the
President were and would be unlawful," Sinton said in the
Zuma's spokesman Bongani Ngqulunga did not immediately
respond to Reuters' request for comment.
Nedbank and FirstRand have also made court
filings in support of Gordhan.
Allegations of Gupta family meddling in politics burst into
the open in February and opposition parties called for a probe
by the country's Public Protector, an anti-corruption watchdog.
The report on the investigation on whether the Gupta family
had an influence over Zuma's appointment of ministers and the
awarding of contracts was published last month. It called for a
judicial inquiry into the allegations of corruption in Zuma's
(Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng. Editing by Jane Merriman)