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Central bank probe recommends charging people in VBS Mutual Bank fraud

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Central bank probe recommends charging people in VBS Mutual Bank fraud

An investigator engaged by the South African Reserve Bank is recommending winding up VBS Mutual Bank and charging people involved in a fraud case, saying the bank is "corrupt to the core" and there is no prospect of saving it.

In its investigation report, called "The Great Bank Heist," the central bank found that 1.89 billion South African rand embezzled from the lender was received by at least 53 people and companies. Advocate Terry Motau, leading the probe for the central bank, said in the report that the perpetrators need to be arrested and tax authorities need to clamp down on them.

"It emerges from the forensic accountants' report that the amount of [1.89 billion rand] was gratuitously received from VBS by some 53 persons of interest, both natural and juristic, over the period 1 March 2015 to 17 June 2018," according to the report.

Further, an auditor's liability claim needs to be brought against KPMG South Africa, the company's accountants who have been embroiled in scandals over their ties with the controversial Gupta family, Motau said. The family is accused of using their links with former South African President Jacob Zuma to amass wealth, and its role in the collapse of VBS Mutual Bank, which was placed under curatorship in March due to liquidity challenges.

Meanwhile, state pension manager Public Investment Corp. (SOC) Ltd. plans to file a case against two of its executives who were involved in the scandal. South Africa's Financial Sector Conduct Authority has accepted the money manager's request to disqualify the individuals, Bloomberg News reported Oct. 10.

As of Oct. 10, US$1 was equivalent to 14.67 South African rand.