Home Business SARS Hits Sasfin Bank with Multi-Billion Rand Legal Challenge

SARS Hits Sasfin Bank with Multi-Billion Rand Legal Challenge

by Central News Reporter
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SARS temporarily Close Its Tax Branches for Physical Visits

SARS

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has launched a legal challenge against Sasfin Bank. Commissioner Edward Kieswetter confirmed on Tuesday that SARS had instituted a damages claim against the financial institution following an exhaustive probe into tax evasion schemes.

According to Kieswetter, “The investigation revealed that the taxpayers had colluded to expatriate funds offshore in a manner that obscured tracing the expatriated payments and jeopardises the recovery of tax in South Africa.”

Deliberating on the recent litigation, the Commissioner stated, “The Commissioner’s position is that it is inappropriate to comment on the question of liability and compensation for the fiscus’ loss, as these are legal issues that are now before the South African judicial system. Given this development, SARS will not be making any further comment.”

In a testament to his commitment to maintaining the nation’s fiscal sovereignty, Kieswetter emphasized his resolve to enforce tax laws impartially, underscoring his duty “to pursue the enforcement and recovery of taxes without fear, favour or prejudice in the interest of upholding the fiscal integrity of the South African tax system.”

On the reverse side of the coin, Sasfin Bank’s parent entity, Sasfin Holdings Limited, broke its silence with a public announcement declaring that SARS had slapped the bank with a summons exceeding R4.8 billion “plus interest and costs”, rooted in the revenue service’s claims of tax evasion by the bank’s erstwhile foreign exchange clientele.

Sasfin’s statement shed light on the bank’s predicament: “This summons, which was received on 9 January 2024, arises from SARS’ purported inability to collect income tax, value added tax and penalties allegedly owed by former foreign exchange clients of the bank.”

The bank’s shareholders were apprised of the historic series of events that has led to the current legal confrontation. “Former foreign exchange clients of the Bank operated as a syndicate that ran an unlawful scheme to facilitate the expatriation of money out of South Africa and colluded with former employees of the bank who operated outside the scope of their employment.”

It is noted that following the exposure of the illicit scheme, Sasfin Bank took concerted steps to cleanse its operations. The unfolding of events led to prominent criminal charges and severing of ties with complicit agents. Additionally, the bank has consulted extensively with legal minds, securing authoritative counsel from reputable experts including Adv. Wim Trengove S.C., contending that SARS’ claims have a “very remote likelihood of success”.

The board of Sasfin Holdings Limited has expressed confidence, conveying in a SENS announcement, “remains of the view that SARS’ claim has no merit and has little chance of success.”

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