President Zuma’s nephew Khulubuse Zuma has once again come to limelight over an oil deal being investigated by US federal authorities.
Revealed in the Panama papers, US authorities and justice department are investigating a hedge fund manager Och-Ziff‚ about its investments in Africa‚ which include financing oil fields in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) “owned” by Zuma.
According to the Wall Street Journal this month, Federal authorities are in a tussle with hedge fund Och-Ziff Capital Management Group over a possible criminal guilty plea in a five-year international bribery investigation.
The investigation examined how the hedge fund company paid bribes to government officials to obtain an investment from Libya’s sovereign-wealth fund and natural-resources deals in other African countries and the investigation authorities requested information from law firm Mossack Fonseca regarding communication with Foxwhelp and Caprikat – the Zuma link
South Africa’s amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism reported that Khulubuse Zuma was presented as the owner of companies to which DRC president Joseph Kabila awarded oil rights in 2010.
“The Panama Papers have provided the first clear indication that deals involving South Africans formed part of the US authorities’ probe into Och-Ziff’s suspected dodgy dealings,” amaBhungane revealed.
The paper went on to detail the internal operation at Mossack Fonseca and shows how celebrities and world leaders have diverted billions of dollars through banks and shell companies.
“In 2010, Mr Zuma was presented as the owner of companies to which Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila awarded oil rights,” the report recalled; adding that Och-Ziff financed the development of the oil fields through a $110m loan‚ whose intended owners were Israeli Dan Gertler and South African businessman Mark Willcox‚” wrote amaBhungane.
However, Khulubuse Zuma said earlier this month that although he was named in the Panama Papers‚ he had no hold on offshore bank accounts in tax havens.
Zuma made this statement while reacting to earlier reports about his links to Caprikat‚ a company registered in the British Virgin Islands‚ that he represented in a R100 billion oil deal in the DRC.
Mr Willcox on his own part said he never took up a shareholding. But Mr Gertler who controls 100% of the oil deals admitted he and Mr Kabila are friends.
The Panama Papers has on it, correspondence made in July and September last year, in which the British Virgin Island attorney-general ordered law firm Mossack Fonseca to produce all records in respect of Foxwhelp and Caprikat, the companies registered in the British Virgin Island that acquired the oil rights and are controlled by Mr Gertler.
Meanwhile, Mr Willcox’s lawyer, Rael Gootkin, said his client’s role “was after the allocation of the rights … to utilize his expertise in capital raising and introducing oil majors as partners”.
In 2014, Och-Ziff disclosed it was being probed by the US justice department and the Securities and Exchange Commission for possible breaches of America’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.