$5,000 payment to Mkhwebane flagged by HSBC bank: report

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. File picture.
Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. File picture.
Image: Esa Alexander

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane was flagged by HSCB international bank as having financial links to the Guptas, according to a report.

An investigation carried out by Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) found that Mkhwebane received a payment of over US$5,000, which was paid into her FNB account in June 2014.

FNB declined to comment, citing client confidentiality, OCCRP said.

The payment to Mkhwebane, OCCRP reported, was made a day before she left China, where she was an official at the SA embassy.

The report notes that there was "no indication of wrongdoing" on Mkhwebane's part.

"The money was sent from an account at HSBC’s subsidiary in Hong Kong," OCCRP reported.

"The flag on Mkhwebane’s transaction was part of a highly restricted internal HSBC investigation that sought to identify a network of Gupta-linked accounts and companies around the world.

"The network’s key accounts and companies were located in Hong Kong, a tax haven that has been known for providing financial secrecy for foreign clients," OCCRP reported.

Despite there being no indication of wrongdoing by Mkhwebane, OCCRP said that HSBC "included the payment among thousands of flagged transactions involving dozens of offshore companies that laundered payments structured as kickbacks from a Chinese rail company in a deal that involved Gupta associates".

The office of the Public Protector, according to the publication, denied Mkhwebane's involvement with the Gupta family.


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