Court orders Guptas to hand over luxury jet

Atul Gupta.
Atul Gupta.

The controversial Gupta family has just five calendar days to return their Bombardier Global 6000 jet to Lanseria Airport in Johannesburg after they breached an earlier court order.

This is what Judge Fayeeza Kathree-Setiloane ruled on Friday in the South Gauteng High Court.

If they do not return the aircraft‚ they would have to file a supplementary affidavit within 10 days explaining themselves.

The respondents in the case include Atul Gupta‚ his wife Chetali‚ Oakbay Investments and Westdawn Investments. The court dismissed their earlier application for leave to appeal.

The Export Development Canada (EDC) lent the Guptas $41-million to buy their Bombardier jet. 

The bank previously approached the court to ground the plane‚ because the family defaulted on repayments and to stop it from using it to commit crimes or flee from justice.

Kathree-Setiloane ordered on March 19 that the jet should be returned within 15 days‚ pending the final determination between Westdawn Investments and EDC in the High Court of Justice in the United Kingdom. The plane was not returned by April 3.

The plane was‚ however‚ returned on April 13‚ but was not delivered to EDC‚ because the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) seized the plane in connection with their Estina Dairy Farm investigations.

The Guptas won a legal battle against the NPA earlier this week after the Bloemfontein High Court released their personal and business assets of over R250-million. 

Judge Phillip Loubser found that there was currently not a reasonable basis to believe that Gupta family members‚ associates and businesses would be convicted on money-laundering and fraud linked to the alleged Estina Dairy Project scam.

Therefore there was not a reasonable basis for R250-million in the family’s assets to be frozen pending potential conviction and subsequent confiscation.

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