Canada’s EDC can finally sell Gupta jet grounded in SA

File picture: Gupta brothers, Ajay and Atul.

A spokesperson said there had been ‘interest’ in the jet following news that litigation has ended.

Export Development Canada (EDC), the Canadian state-owned enterprise which gave members of the controversial Gupta family money to purchase a private jet, are now hoping to sell it after a lawsuit between the export credit agency and a Gupta-owned company Westdawn Investments drew to a close in the UK.

Fin24 reports that a spokesperson said there had been “interest” in the jet following news that litigation has ended.

“Since we began the marketing process earlier this year, there has been interest and we expect even more interest now that the litigation has concluded.”

It was reported in September that the jet had been advertised and was expected to sell for about R440 million.

The jet, model 2015-Bombardier Global 6000, was advertised in Business Day by JetCraft, according to a picture included in a September 11 tweet from Africa correspondent for Canadian publications The Globe and Mail Geoffrey York, which is based in Johannesburg.

“Wanna buy the former Gupta jet? Make an offer! After ZS-OAK was seized from the Guptas by Canadian bankers for loan defaults, brokers have been trying to sell it for the past 10 months. Latest ad is in Business Day. Only 328 landings so far!” he tweeted.

It has been pointed out that the plane’s registration number, ZS-OAK, appears to be a reference to Gupta-owned company Oakbay Investments.

The plane reportedly has onboard Wifi, space for about 14 passengers, and has flown about 1,256 hours.

READ MORE: Global Gupta asset seizure in progress

It has flown President Cyril Ramaphosa to Japan when he was deputy president, as well as transporting other South African ministers.

EDC allegedly forked up 80% of the price of the plane.

It has been grounded at Johannesburg airport Lanseria due to the family defaulting on their roughly R579 million loan following a high court ruling in April 2018.

According to Fin24, the plane was bought through Westdawn Investments, which then took the EDC to court in the United Kingdom, leading to a settlement which saw the company withdraw its objection to the jet being sold.

“No money was exchanged as part of the settlement and Westdawn will not be entitled to any proceeds from the sale of the aircraft,” the EDC’s spokesperson confirmed.

Now that the lawsuit has been settled, the plane can be moved from Lanseria and be sold, whereas before it could only be marketed for sale at some point in the future.

The EDC has expressed regret over its business relationship with the Guptas, members of which have been implicated in corruption and state capture in SA.

(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)

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