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Bank refuses to meet Oakbay CEO

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The chief executive of Oakbay Investments said on Thursday one of the four banks he had approached to restore ties with the Gupta-owned company had declined to set up a meeting, saying it saw “no reason to meet”.

Nazeem Howa declined to name the bank.

Oakbay is scrambling to restore banking relationships after all four major South African banks cut ties over criticism that its owners, the Gupta family, have undue political influence with President Jacob Zuma.

Last week, Howa said he hoped to convince at least one local bank to re-establish relations.

“We will start setting up meetings with banks on Tuesday to try and restore those relations because the lives of 7 500 employees are at stake,” Howa told Reuters in an interview.

Although the Gupta’s relationship with Zuma has been a source of controversy for years, it burst into the open last month when senior figures went public to say the family had exerted undue sway, including offering cabinet positions.

Zuma has acknowledged the Guptas are his friends but denies anything improper. The Guptas, whose businesses stretch from media to mining, have denied the allegations and say they are pawns in a plot to oust Zuma.

[Source: Fin24]
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