Canada Bank Approaches South African Court to Ground Guptas’ Jet Over Loan Default

The Guptas borrowed $52 million from Export Development Canada to buy a luxury jet and now the credit agency over $34 million, according to reports.


In a series of fresh troubles for the embattled Guptas, the family may lose their private jet if the Canadian bank, Export Development Canada (EDC), has its way. The bank, which had submitted an application to ground the plane, was to be heard at the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on March 6, reported. The case, which has been referred to Deputy Judge President Phineas Mojapelo for a special allocation, has been postponed to March 9.

“There is a very real concern that the aircraft may be used to escape justice or for some unlawful means,” EDC wrote to the court. The aircraft in question is a luxury jet Bombardier Global 6000 bought after the family borrowed an astronomical $52 million from the bank, Huffington Post reported. The family defaulted on the loan in October 2017 and owe EDC, the credit agency owned by the Canadian government, over $34 million. EDC helped Bombardier Inc., the Canadian aerospace firm, to seal the deal and usually provides finance for international customers to buy Canadian products.

However, the Guptas made the location of the jet private after EDC filed its application in court asking for the aircraft’s whereabouts. FlightAware, a website that allows the public to track aircraft around the world, gives the information: “This aircraft (ZS-OAK) is not available for public tracking per request from the owner/operator.”

The plane was registered with numbers “ZS-OAK” on its tail.

As per, the jet has been seen at airports in India, Russia and Dubai in recent weeks. It says that the plane flew from Dubai South Airport to Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport on March 3, and returned to Dubai South on March 5.

Washington Post quoted a Toronto-based lawyer Ehsan Monafred as saying that under an international agreement called the Cape Town Treaty, the lenders have the right to seize a plane in any country that’s part of the pact. “I don’t think the Canadian taxpayer is going to get bilked, unless the aircraft has been otherwise disposed of,” he told the publication.

Meanwhile, tax officials in India raided the Gupta family’s properties at Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh, and Dehradun in Uttarakhand, and their offices in New Delhi on March 6 to investigate the possibility of them bringing the “illicit money” earned abroad to India, Reuters reported.

The Gupta family scandal has exploded in South Africa, with an arrest warrant for Ajay Gupta having been issued. Allegations of state capture and corruption led to the resignation of former South African President Jacob Zuma, who is said to have links with the family, on Feb. 14. The Guptas and Zuma have denied any wrongdoing.

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