Dave King banned; CR, JPR in London spotlight; Zuma on trial; China wins in trade war

By Alec Hogg

  • South African Dave King, who fought then Pravin Gordhan-run SA Revenue Services for almost a decade before famously paying a settlement of R706m in 2013, has been hit with a four year ban by the UK’s Takeover Panel. The independent panel issued a rare “cold shoulder” on King after ruling he had contravened the code on takeovers and mergers during a battle for control of Scottish football club Glasgow Rangers FC. This is only the fourth time in the past half century that the regulatory panel has issued such a ruling, the most severe penalty at its disposal. King was found by the Takeover Panel to have worked in concert with others to acquire a secret stake of more than 30%, the threshold at which UK law requires the launch of a full takeover offer. King initially denied having done so, a claim the panel found to be untrue following the discovery of emails written by him. King, who grew up in poverty in Glasgow as a die-hard supporter of Rangers, is now the chairman and largest single shareholder in the football club.
  • The two most powerful South Africans, president Cyril Ramaphosa and business tycoon Johann Rupert, will be in the global spotlight today at the Financial Times’s 6th annual Africa Summit in London. Ramaphosa’s office says he will deliver the opening address during a two day visit where he expects to engage investors and business leaders with the aim of attracting further investment into South Africa. The presidency says Ramaphosa will be accompanied by the minister of small business development Ms Khumbudzo Ntshavheni and his special envoy on investment, Mcebisi Jonas. As part of the keynote addresses, Rupert will be interviewed on stage by Financial Times editor Lionel Barber.
  • The Wall Street Journal reports that China emerged with wins from the past week’s trade talks with the US. The White House has shelved proposed new tariffs and left many of its demands to be worked out later. On Friday the two countries took initial steps to cement a trade agreement that had been derailed for months when US President Donald Trump said he would call off planned tariff increases in return for China’s purchase of up to $50bn in American agricultural products. Trump said a bigger deal will come in three stages, including an agreement around transfers of US technology to China. In typical Trump fashion, the US president applauded himself, tweeting: “The deal I just made with China is by far the greatest and biggest deal ever made for our Great Patriot Farmers in the history of our country. In fact, there is a question as to whether or not this much product can be produced. Our farmers will figure it out. Thank you China.”
  • Former South African president Jacob Zuma will face 16 criminal charges involving racketeering and money laundering when his trial starts tomorrow. On Friday Zuma lost his final bid to block the case of corruption which stretches back 20 years to allegations he took R4m in bribes during the infamous Arms Deal. After eight years of investigations, the case against Zuma was abandoned a few months before he became president in 2009. But in October last year the Appeal Court upheld a lower court ruling that not pursuing the case was “irrational.” Bloomberg reports that on Friday, the National Prosecuting Authority formally requested the government of the United Arab Emirates to ratify agreements with South Africa on extradition and mutual legal assistance. The NPA wants to extradite the three Gupta brothers – Ajay, Atul and Rajesh – to answer allegations of corruption. Last Thursday the US Treasury imposed sanctions on the Guptas and their associate Salim Essa describing them as members of a “significant corruption network.”
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