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State capture suspect Eric Wood is free to travel to Europe

Isaac Mahlangu Senior reporter
'Gupta lieutenant' Eric Wood has been granted permission to visit family in Europe.
'Gupta lieutenant' Eric Wood has been granted permission to visit family in Europe.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi

State capture accused Eric Wood is free to travel to Spain and the UK to visit his family, a Johannesburg court ruled on Wednesday.

Wood, who is on R250,000 bail, successfully applied on Wednesday to have his bail conditions relaxed.

He will be allowed to travel abroad between September 10 and 20.

The state had opposed the application by Wood, who has dual SA-UK citizenship, saying there was a risk he could fail to return to SA to stand trial.

Magistrate Brian Nemavhidi ruled it was “mere speculation that if given his passports, he may not return”.

Nemavhidi said Wood knew for about four years he would be charged and had ample opportunity to leave the country if he had intentions of evading the trial.

The state had unsuccessfully argued Wood had no family connection in SA and his assets are under restraint, while in Spain he had access to an investment worth €65,000 (about R1.1m).

Immediately after Nemavhidi delivered his judgment, the state, through advocate Peter Masiakwala, lodged another application.

It is asking that Wood be made to pay “insurance” of between R2.5m and R5m that would be forfeited to the state should he fail to return to SA.

Wood’s legal representative, advocate Estelle Killian, asked for an adjournment to consult Wood about this application.

The trial is expected to resume later on Wednesday.


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