Asked why the bank chose to close the accounts‚ Sinton said if Standard Bank finds compelling information of criminal activity or wrongdoing on the part of any of its clients‚ it can take a decision to cut ties without asking for representations or arguments from the client.
The bank based its decision on various media reports on the Gupta family’s involvement in state capture‚ following suit from Absa and KPMG.
Banks are regulated by the Banks Act‚ the Financial Intelligence Centre Act and the Prevention of Organised Crime Act‚ which deals with money laundering.
“We are obliged to ensure that our banking systems are not used to facilitate corrupt payments‚ to ensure that we don’t become accessories of corruption. If the court finds that a reasonable bank should have been suspicious of the transaction‚ but still went ahead and approved the transaction… that is considered an offence‚” said Sinton.
Failure to comply with statutes as a bank would put the bank and its employees at a high risk‚ he added.