People & News

SA lawyers help Mugabe

Ronel Straughan and Bobby Bertrand of Bowman Gilfillan have testified in the trial of Chris Kuruneri, Zimbabwe's former finance minister, who is accused of violating the country's stringent exchange controls by building an extravagant home in Llandudno.

Although South African estate agents and lawyers are obliged to ascertain the origins of funds for property deals and report 'suspect' transactions to the authorities in terms of the new Financial Intelligence Centre Act, in this case, the lawyers received South African cheques and, therefore, thought it was a "perfectly legal transaction", said Bertrand.

The lesson to be learnt from this case is that South Africans should be cautious when structuring their own international investments, because if they do not stick to the letter of foreign exchange controls and obey tax legislation, their attorneys can be subpoenaed to provide evidence for use in a court in that jurisdiction, if South Africa has a reciprocal agreement with that country.

Article on Moneyweb

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