14 June 2019

South Africa: Newsflash - SAA's Would-Be Russian Funder Surfaces At State Capture Commission

analysis

Fresh evidence appears to expose BNP Capital's scheme to extract cash from South African Airways.

BNP Capital stood to rake in more than R300-million for a capital-raising deal with South African Airways and when that crashed amid a public outcry, former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni single-handedly signed off on a R49.9-million cancellation fee to the company.

Grissag AG, a company belonging to Free State businessman Pieter Van der Merwe and a Russian financier, Sergey Pokusaev, was installed into three different bids to help SAA raise R15-billion to consolidate its debt portfolio under highly questionable and controversial circumstances in 2015/2016.

Testifying at the State Capture Commission on Friday, June 14, Van der Merwe explained how a BNP Capital representative contacted him to partner on the deal.

This was after two earlier bids involving Grissag were unsuccessful. Once because it had failed an SAA due diligence and a second time because National Treasury had blocked the Free State Development Corporation (FDC) from stepping outside its mandate to try and bail out SAA through a partnership with Grissag.

Van der Merwe took the Commission through each of the failed partnerships and then described as "false" claims by BNP Capital, a middleman, that the...

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