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Sasfin closed the accounts of Gold Leaf Tobacco and its associated companies in 2017.

Following a SARS statement as well as media reports issued on the 26th and 29th of August 2022, Sasfin can advise that it closed the accounts of Gold Leaf Tobacco and its associated companies in 2017, following the discovery of suspicious transactions which were reported timeously to the relevant authorities in 2017. Sasfin has cooperated with the relevant authorities, including SARS, with regard to this matter.

At this juncture, Sasfin advises that it became aware of allegations made by SARS against some of its employees in relation to these entities, for the first time, in 2022. As a result, Sasfin then commissioned its own independent investigation into this matter which is ongoing; Sasfin has shared evidence that was identified through this investigation with SARS.

Sasfin is not in possession of the case files referenced in the media reports. As information emerges, Sasfin will take any further appropriate action. The investigation has to date resulted in cogent evidence implicating one former rogue employee. This ex-employee is alleged to have colluded with others five years ago, which Sasfin became aware of in 2022, to abet fraudulent activity by obscuring historic records relating to this matter. The ongoing investigation by Sasfin is looking into the actions of these other employees. Sasfin has a zero tolerance for fraud and corruption, and takes the necessary steps to vigorously stamp it out.

As part of Sasfin’s ongoing efforts to improve its services, processes and controls, Sasfin overhauled its foreign exchange IT systems in 2019 and enhanced its management team, which resulted in a restructuring of the business in 2020. These moves have seen a meaningful strengthening of Sasfin’s foreign exchange environment. While working closely with SARS and as new information emerges, Sasfin will keep stakeholders informed.

About the Author

Michael Sassoon
CEO, Sasfin Holdings Limited

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