Panama Papers: Khulubuse Zuma responds

Spokesperson says businessman has never held any offshore bank account

Panama Papers: Khulubuse Zuma responds

Durban - Controversial tycoon Khulubuse Zuma has spoken out on his link to the so-called Panama Papers – a tranche of millions of leaked financial documents detailing a trove of billions sheltered in tax havens, and pocketed by political power players around the world. 

President Jacob Zuma’s nephew was named in the cache of documents leaked from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca and published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Khulubuse Zuma’s spokesperson, Vuyo Mkhize, said he had opted not to comment, other than to make his position clear.  

"Firstly, I think we must clarify what the information that has been released is all about. The report does not say that Khulubuse holds an offshore bank account, it merely states that he was associated with a company registered offshore," he said.

"Khulubuse does not, and has never held any offshore bank account," Mkhize said.  

A big oil deal

"What the report seems to allege is that he has an association with a company, Caprikat, which is registered in the British Virgin Islands that he represented in concluding an oil deal which is a matter of record in this country. He does not have any additional comment beyond this.

"His simple position is that he signed the agreement on behalf of Caprikat, but the question of his status within that company is something that he not at liberty to comment on," Mkhize added.

The leaked documents laid bare the private fortunes of millions, including world leaders, ferreted away in tax havens across the globe.

The South African connection, which drew the crosshairs to Zuma, is one of his league of companies named Caprikat Limited.  

The company scored a R100bn oil deal in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Zuma a 'power player'

A City Press investigation in 2010 discovered that President Zuma played a crucial role in the decision by DRC President Joseph Kabila to allocate two oilfields in the northeast of the country to his nephew.

In documents that News24 has perused, British Virgin Island tax authorities ordered the law firm to furnish further particulars. According to the documents, which about Zuma.

A letter, sent to Mossack Fonseca by a Financial Investigation Agency official, gave the law firm seven days to hand over Zuma’s details.

The ICIJ report listed Zuma as a "power player".

"Zuma was authorised to represent Caprikat Limited, one of two offshore companies that controversially acquired oil fields in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In late summer 2010, as published reports raised questions about the acquisition, British Virgin Islands authorities ordered Mossack Fonseca to provide background information on Zuma, which the law firm had not previously obtained."

"That same year, Mossack Fonseca decided to end its relationship with the companies. Zuma and representatives of the companies have rejected allegations of wrongdoing and claimed the oil deals are 'quite attractive' to the DRC government," the report reads. 

This article first appeared on News24 – see here