The state may have paid over R1bn to purchase Gupta-owned Optimum Mine, Shadow World Investigations researcher Paul Holden told the state capture commission on Friday.
He testified about how the controversial family used money obtained illegally from irregular contracts with the government to acquire the asset and the country was left to suffer huge collateral damage.
The R2.1bn mine, which was purchased by Gupta-owned Tegeta Resources in 2016, is said to have received large sums of money from Centaur Ventures, a company run by the Guptas' in-laws.
In total, Centaur Ventures is said to have moved over R2.7bn into the accounts of Centaur Mining and Optimum Coal Mine.
“The Gupta enterprise used criminal funds derived from state capture to purchase the assets - and that’s Optimum - through a system that effectively sees criminal money from the state being used as a source of finance advanced to the Gupta enterprise.”
"The Guptas then used these criminal funds to pay the bridging fund that had been raised from criminal funds earlier. The end is that the state ended up paying for over half this asset and suffered huge collateral harm," Holden told the commission.