Johannesburg - Absa Group [JSE:ASA] and Nedbank Group
[JSE:NED] have ceased trade with Auction Alliance pending the outcome of
investigations into claims of staff receiving kickbacks for preferential
treatment, according to a report on Thursday.
The Cape Times reported that Nedbank forensic investigators
had interrogated a contracted employee on Wednesday after he was supposedly
implicated in the receipt of payments from the auction house.
"During the course of the day, our interrogations have
progressed to such a stage that we have informed Auction Alliance that we will
not refer any new cases to them until we have concluded our
investigation," Nedbank's head of risk Philip Wessels told the newspaper.
Absa was also probing staff in its recovery division, which
sells off the bank's distressed assets, many of which end up on auction.
The bank's deputy group CEO Louis von Zeuner said: "We
stand for a particular ethic and no one is going to stand in the way of us
living up to exactly that".
Auction Alliance CEO Rael Levitt has stepped down pending
the outcome of an investigation into the allegations.
It was reported on Wednesday that First National Bank (FNB)
and Investec [JSE:INL] had also stopped doing business with Auction Alliance.