Confusion over Optimum coal case | Fin24
 
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Confusion over Optimum coal case

Mar 25 2018 09:32
Dewald van Rensburg

An urgent application to remove the business rescue practitioners of the Gupta-owned Optimum coal mine last week was postponed until September.

In the meantime, the two sides of the fight have completely contradictory versions of what this means.

Ruann Kruger, the attorney who brought the application on behalf of a creditor, Deriko Mining and Exploration, told City Press the rescue practitioners had in effect been banned from selling assets until the case was heard.

The rescue practitioners’ attorneys say that they simply made an undertaking to court to follow the Companies Act and will only dispose of assets in terms of a valid adopted business rescue plan.

They are scheduled to present the business rescue plan for the Gupta companies to creditors this week.

Among the parties that applied to intervene in the application this past week was Oakbay, the Gupta family’s holding company.

It applied to defend the rescuers, Johan-Louis Klopper and Kurt Knoop, from Deriko. Kruger cites this as evidence that the rescuers are working for the infamous family.

This was the premise of the application to begin with.

The nonprofit Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse also supported the Deriko application.

City Press reported last week on Deriko’s bid to remove Klopper and Knoop. Court documents showed that Deriko had bought the debts of another creditor of the Optimum mine so it would be able to launch an application. Documents also show that the company was trying to organise finance to potentially buy the mine.

Meanwhile, liquidation firms are circling the Optimum mine, the most valuable of the eight Gupta companies currently in business rescue.

City Press has seen requisition forms from Kaap Vaal Trust and Corporate Liquidators that have been sent en masse to the creditors.

If Optimum is liquidated, it will be one of the most valuable liquidations in South African history.

Liquidators generally get a 10% fee, and Optimum could be worth R3bn. 

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optimum coal mine  |  gupta family
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