Two months after he was named the prospective buyer of South Africa mining group Tegeta Exploration & Resources, UAE national Amin Alzarooni has been appointed a director of Charles King SA, the Swiss holding company that would own the mining group if the sale goes ahead.
On 23 August 2017, Gupta-owned Oakbay Investments announced it had reached an agreement to sell Tegeta – which comprises Optimum coal mine, Koornfontein coal mine and Optimum Coal Terminal – to the Lausanne, Switzerland-headquartered company Charles King SA for R2.97 billion.
It said at the time that the sale was expected to be concluded within 12 months.
Oakbay said the sale would “preserve the employment of its loyal staff”, adding that Tegeta was on a “sustainable and profitable trajectory”.
“Under new ownership, Oakbay believes that the business and its employees will have the bright and prosperous future they deserve,” it said.
Alzarooni, from Dubai in the UAE, was named the owner of Charles King SA.
“Opportunities in mining in South Africa are extremely attractive and we have been looking for a long time to invest in the Rainbow Nation,” he said in Oakbay’s statement.
“And once we have bought the business we will, of course, be looking for a Black Economic Empowerment Partner,” Alzarooni said at the time.
According to the Swiss company’s records, he was not a director of Charles King SA at the time the prospective sale was announced.
On 20 October 2017, however, Zarooni and Swiss national Bernard Philippe Vo were named as the new directors of Charles King SA.
Ronald Alfred Beau, the group’s former director and CEO of BEAU HLB – a Swiss company that offers legal, tax, accounting, auditing and wealth-management advice – has stepped down.
Beau did not respond to requests for comment.
No more fashion industry links?
When local media started digging into Charles King SA, following Oakbay’s unexpected August announcement, it emerged that Charles King SA was only linked to one company – Charles King Paris – an online fashion retailer that, according to its website, focuses on “Glam Rock and Rebel Chic Style”.
When Charles King SA was formed in 2011, its “purpose” was given, in Swiss company records, as the creation, sale and distribution of the fashion brand Charles King Paris.
But Charles Rey, the French-born owner of Charles King Paris, has told Fin24 that he severed connections with the Swiss holding company in 2016, months before the Guptas announced the sale.
Last month, in the wake of the Gupta’s announcement of the prospective sale, Fin24 contacted Rey to ask him whether he had any history in mining.
Rey’s response was that there “must be a mistake”.
“Charles king Paris is a small fashion brand and has nothing to do with mining,” he said.
Fin24 then followed up with a more in-depth email sketching out Oakbay’s statements, and the fact that the his website still gave its owner as Charles King SA – the prospective buyer of Tegeta.
Rey responded by saying he had severed his connections with Charles King SA.
“We are not any more the owner of Charles King, we have given back officially in 2016 the company to Mr (Ronald A.) Beau. Charles King SA is absolutely not anymore the owner of the brand Charles King Paris.
“Our activity is very small in fashion only and we are going to change the address on the web site.”
However, according to leaked #GuptaEmails, Alzarooni – who was this month named a director of Charles King SA – dows have ties
Investigative journalism outfits amaBhungane and Scorpio have reported on how the Dubai national previously served as an “apparent Gupta front when the family set up a corporate structure in Dubai for Kamal Gupta, Ajay Gupta’s son”.
Meanwhile, as the second week of Parliament’s state capture inquiry continued on Wednesday, the EFF’s Floyd Shivambu asked the legislature to halt the sale of Tegeta to Charles King SA.
“Parliament should take a resolution to halt the crime “now”, said Shivambu. “All the other institutions which were supposed to stop the crime are not doing anything.”